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Business students, Sodexo team up to support MLK food pantry


Alyson Novick, director of development for MLK Community Center holds a check presented to her by Salve Regina business students Erica Smith and Caitlin Seidl, along with their advisor, Dr. Arlene Nicholas.

NEWPORT, R.I. – A drive spearheaded by members of Salve Regina’s Sigma Beta Delta national business honor society in partnership with Sodexo Dining Services raised $600 for the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center food pantry.

Sigma Beta Delta members recruited Salve Regina students on the university’s meal plan to authorize Sodexo to donate $3.50 from the cost of their meals for a day to be donated to support the MLK food pantry.

On Tuesday, senior business majors Erica Smith and Caitlin Seidl visited the Martin Luther King Center along with their Sigma Beta Delta faculty advisor, Dr. Arlene Nicholas, to present a $603 check to Alyson Novick, development director for MLK. Sigma Beta Delta members Emma Silva and Stephanie Neofostistos were also involved in organizing the effort.

Novick said the funding will help the community center stock their food pantry shelves, not just during the holiday season but beyond, when the need is equally significant.

“This is a really creative way to make a difference,” Novick said of the effort by students and Sodexo. “Hunger doesn’t take a holiday. We need food 365 days a year. We’re seeing hunger spread across all age spectrums and can’t do it all on our own. We really rely on the community and Salve Regina has been a great partner.”

During the Thanksgiving and holiday seasons, the MLK Community Center provides holiday baskets to their neighbors in need throughout Newport County. Each basket contains the traditional holiday meal, plus enough food to feed the family during the holiday break.

Beyond the holidays, the MLK Community Center operates a breakfast program on Monday through Friday, as well as its Feed a Friend Food pantry, which is open three days a week to clients in need.

Altogether, the MLK Community Center produces more than 76,000 meals for families and individuals annually – many of whom are working multiple jobs and living in Newport County communities not typically known for poverty. About 70 percent of the food currently available at the Center’s food pantry is the result of food drives and local donations.

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