Pop-up toy store by DCF helps families afford gifts for their children | Connecticut News


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

DCF pop up store in Glastonbury

The Connecticut Department of Children and Families hosted a pop-up toy shop in Glastonbury on Dec. 21 to help families afford Christmas gifts for their children.

The DCF hosted a Christmas toy pop-up shop called the “Olive Branch” in Glastonbury and it aimed to alleviate the financial burden for 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 every family has that experience, so we wanted to make sure parents had that experience this year.”

Many of the children receiving the gifts had gone through some pretty difficult situations. That’s why the folks involved with the pop-up shop said they were honored to be there on Tuesday.

“Rather than have social workers bring toys to the doorsteps of our families, we’ve invited our families in to shop because they know best what their children like and this way, they can leave our store with dignity having had a hand in choosing a gift for their children,” said Jacqueline Ford, community outreach coordinator, DCF.

The idea was to let parents decide which toy, book, stuffed animal or play set best suited their little one.

“They walk in and they’re a little bit overwhelmed when they look around, and I talk with them about how many gifts they are able to take home with them, and the response has just been gracious, filled with so much gratitude and emotions,” Ford said. “Many of them have cried and been so grateful.”

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

“I have a bunch of family members that went through foster care and adoption and they tell me about their stories and how they were super fortunate, but they have some people that weren’t so fortunate, and that kind of hit close to my heart,” Bard said.

With all the heaviness in today’s world, Reilly said it’s more important than ever to keep one’s head up and remember that “this too shall pass.”

“You know if you may be going through hard times, that there’s going to be that rainbow at the end of the tunnel, and you’re going to be able to get through it and you’re going to have friends and family that will support you no matter what, and you’ll be able to get through it,” Bard said.

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