Civic Engagement: REACT Grant

REACT Grant logo: Read, Engage, and Come TogetherThe Chelmsford Library is embarking on a year-long project to promote civic participation and education with our REACT Grant: Read, Engage, And Come Together.

Join us as we explore six key issues that most impact our community and society as a whole, through engaging programming, in depth, moderated discussions, films, readings, and quality resources. The schedule of these six areas are:

  • October 2018: Promote the project and Voter Engagement
  • November/December 2018: Poverty and Food Insecurity
  • January/February 2019: Racial Justice and One Book
  • March/April 2019: Environment and Climate Change
  • May/June 2019: LGBTQ+ Equality
  • July/August 2019: Immigration and Refugees
  • September/October 2019: Public Education

You won’t want to miss what we have in store, so keep your eye on our calendar for more REACT programming.


Voter Engagement

As of the 2016 election, the population of American citizens of voting age (18+) was approx 224 million people, but only 157 million of those people were registered, and only 137 million of those reported to the polls to cast their vote in the 2016 Presidential election.

The turnout is far lower for important local elections. For example, mayoral elections in 50 US cities only garnered 15% of eligible voters.

What are the reasons for low engagement among US citizens?
Why is voting important?
What can be done to increase voter engagement?


Check out the full Voter Engagement brochure [pdf] for suggested reading, films, podcasts, and additional resources.


Poverty and Food Insecurity

As of September 2015, the Census Bureau reported that 43.1 million people lived in poverty in America, and The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that 553,742 people were experiencing homelessness in America.

More than 40 million people in America need the government’s help to keep from going hungry, and many families struggle to receive adequate nutrition. For many children, school breakfast or lunch may be the only real meal they receive per day, though the quality of these meals varies, and the number of elderly individuals experiencing food insecurity exceeded 10 million for the first time last year.

If unemployment is only 4.4 percent, why are so many still living in poverty?
Should the Federal Government spend more on anti-hunger programs?


  • Volunteer, organize a food drive, or donate to the Merrimack Valley Food Bank
  • Sponsor a meal or volunteer for Table of Plenty in Chelmsford
  • Participate in Project Bread’s Annual Walk for Hunger (May 2019) to raise money for hunger defeating programs in your community
  • Get in touch with your representatives in Congress to let them know how important this issue is to you:
  • Chelmsford Food Pantry – Located behind Town Offices at 50 Billerica Road, food pick-up times are Wednesdays 5:00-8:00, Thursdays 2:00-4:00, and Fridays 6:00-8:00. If you can offer support, drop-off hours are Thursdays 10:30-1:00, and there is also a drop-box at the Chelmsford Library
  • The Open Pantry of Greater Lowell – Located at 13 Hurd Street in Lowell and open weekdays 9am – noon and Wednesday evenings 5:30pm – 7:00pm. Check website for holiday hours and how to make donations

Check out the full Poverty & Food Insecurity brochure [pdf] for suggested reading, films, podcasts, and additional resources.


Racial Justice and One Book


Environment and Climate Change


LGBTQ+ Equality


Immigration and Refugees


Public Education



The Institute of Museum and Library Services logoThe Civic Engagement REACT Program is brought to you with federal funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.