GLASTONBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — What started as a pop-up location has become a staple of the community in Glastonbury.
The Olive Branch has a new home, moving into the parish house at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church on Main Street.
“It’s an opportunity for families to browse the new items, choose gifts and necessities that they need for free and to leave our shop with dignity,” said Jackie Ford.
The Olive Branch is a “free store,” open to families whose children are receiving services from the Department of Children and Families, helping them with new toys, clothing, school supplies, games and much more.
It started as a pop-up location, but quickly became an essential community space for mothers like Renee Stone.
“I was struggling because I was trying to figure out how to make ends meet for my kids to have Christmas presents,” Stone said. “I’m so used to going to food pantries and stuff like that where people choose stuff for you, and this was the first time that I could go in, know what my child likes. and choose something for my child.”
Around 13,000 families are involved with DCF every year in Connecticut, and 3,000 children are currently in foster care. The Olive Branch offers caregivers and parents a little extra support.
“Hope and help have no season, we can continue to pour into families just in need of a little help.,” said DCF Commissioner Vanessa Dorantes.