Posted by Dawn Marshall on Oct 16, 2020

The Rotary Club of Billerica had learned about students who had only trash bags for their belongings. Because of home circumstances, they were forced the night before to be taken into custody by the state Department of Children and Families. The DCF office in Chelmsford covers Ayer, Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Groton, Lowell, Pepperell, Shirley, Tewksbury, Townsend and Westford.

The Billerica club wanted to do something to help these students, and was able to get a grant so they could carry their school supplies in duffel bags - not garbage bags - and so that no child would endure the shame of carrying their belongings at school in trash bags. The club wanted to do more for these children, who had to leave their homes and go into DCF custody with absolutely nothing. The club wanted to fill their duffel bags with supplies they needed.

Teaming together with the Rotary clubs of Chelmsford, Lowell, Tewskbury and Westford, they presented their idea to DCF, and were given a list of most needed items in an emergency situation plus a room within the DCF office to store the items. Called the Rotary Room, it is complete with the Rotary wheel. Now, Rotarians and social workers have come together to form The Greater Lowell Rotary Room Committee, and are looking for funding to purchase emergency basic clothing essentials and toiletries.

This project has such a positive impact on these children. They have been taken out of their homes and put into a situation that is out of their control. The Rotary Room provides them comfort and control during this tumultuous situation. They are able to go into the Rotary Room, pick a duffel bag, and pick out needed essential items to put in their bag. 

In order to sustain the Rotary Room, we will be asking each of the 12 Rotary clubs, within the Chelmsford DCF office’s jurisdiction to donate annually. We will also be applying annually for a Rotary grant. We hope that when a child goes into our Rotary Room, sees the Rotary wheel, and is able to get a few new items that give them comfort, they will see that wheel in the future and remember that we, Rotarians, helped lift them up during a difficult time.

We will greatly appreciate your consideration in making a donation to our charitable fund so we can provide essential items for the many children in need. This is our community and these are our children. We care about them!

For more information, contact Dawn Marshall of the Rotary Club of Billerica at

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