GLASTONBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The Olive Branch isn’t your typical toy store.

At the Glastonbury pop-up, families in the Connecticut Department of Children and Families can pick a toy and wrap it themselves — for free.

“We’re working together with them to help them with any issues that they may have and help to empower them, so they feel self-sufficient,” said Jackie Ford with DCF, who runs the store.

DCF organized The Olive Branch to invite about 200 families with active cases to get a Christmas surprise. An active case means those children are still at home with their birth families.

There was a special exception Thursday for one foster mother, who was caring for a young boy as a way of helping another foster parent who had unexpectedly died.

Brenda Hall, of Stratford, was then able to shop for the boy as a way to help him cope.

“It’s a blessing,” Hall said. “I didn’t know where to go, what to do.”

Hall’s two adopted sons are now 25 and 16, so she wasn’t expecting another child.

“God had another plan,” she said. “He brought another little on in to add to the family.”

Shopping at the Olive Branch is by appointment-only.

To donate, visit DCF’s website, or email