BankNewport $200K grant helped fund MLK Center’s new food pantry

BANKNEWPORT AWARDED a $200,000 grant to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center’s Building Hope Campaign in 2022 to help fund the center’s new food pantry, which was recently completed. Pictured, from left, in the pantry are BankNewport CEO and President Jack Murphy; Heather Hole Strout, executive director of the MLK Center; and Kathleen Charbonneau, bank senior vice president and director of community relations and charitable giving. / COURTESY BANKNEWPORT

NEWPORT – BankNewport awarded a $200,000 grant in 2022 to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center’s Building Hope Campaign, specifically to go toward the center’s new, state-of-the-art food pantry, which was recently completed.

The community center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newly renovated facility at 20 Dr. Marcus Wheatland Blvd., marking the culmination of 13 months of construction, the bank announced Feb. 21.

“BankNewport expresses its deep gratitude to the MLK Center staff and volunteers and to those community members who contributed to making the building campaign a reality,” Jack Murphy, bank CEO and president, said in a statement. “The renovated Center and its food pantry represent a beacon of hope, nourishment, and support for Newport County residents, embodying the MLK Center’s mission to improve economic, social, and physical well-being.”

The food pantry reopened on Jan. 17 after moving from a temporary location, the bank said. It provides nonperishable food, frozen meats, fresh milk, eggs, produce and bread, in addition to household and personal care items. Pantry operating hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesdays. Volunteers assemble grocery orders for delivery to homebound seniors on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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The community center was established in 1922 and renamed in 1968 to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The recent renovations, the bank said in a news release, will ensure the center can meet the growing needs of Newport County residents with enhanced facilities and services.

The community center builds community by promoting health, fighting hunger, supporting families, educating kids and engaging seniors, according to the release. As an independent nonprofit, less than 2.5% of the center’s total public support derives from municipal, state, or federal funding sources. Last year, the center helped 6,232 people, the most in its history, according to the release.

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