DCF’s pop-up toy store helps families give gifts to their children

By Marcy Jones

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GLASTONBURY, Connecticut (WFSB) – It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas, and thanks to the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, it looks like it too.

The DCF organized a pop-up Christmas toy store called the ‘Olive Branch’ in Glastonbury and aimed to ease the financial burden on some parents during the holiday season.

“We know what it feels like on Christmas morning to be able to have toys under our tree,” said Vanessa Dorantes, Commissioner, DCF. “Not all families have this experience, so we wanted to make sure parents have this experience this year.”

Many of the children who received the gifts went through quite difficult situations. That’s why those involved in the pop-up store said they were honored to be there on Tuesday.

“Rather than letting social workers bring toys to our families’ doors, we invited our families to shop because they know better what their children like and that way they can leave our store with dignity. after participating in choosing a gift for their children, ”said Jacqueline Ford, Community Outreach Coordinator, DCF.

The idea was to let parents decide which toy, book, soft toy, or play set was best for their little one.

“They come in and they’re a little overwhelmed when they look around, and I talk to them about how many presents they can take with them, and the response has been gracious, filled with so much gratitude and emotion. . ”said Ford. “Many of them cried and were so grateful.”

Reilly Bard, 12, has been helping DCF causes since she remembered it, and said it never gets old.

“I have a group of family members who have been fostered and adopted and they tell me their stories and how very lucky they have been, but there are people who have not been. so lucky, and that stuff is close to my heart. “said Bard.

With all the heaviness in the world today, Reilly said it was more important than ever to hold your head up and remember that “that too will pass.”

“You know, if you go through hard times, there will be this rainbow at the end of the tunnel, you can walk through it and you will have friends and family who support you no matter what, and you can get you out of it, ”Bard said.

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