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The Olive Branch

Bringing The Gift of Holiday Cheer to Families

Finding the perfect present for your child during the holidays can be daunting, but The Olive Branch is here to help families in need. Located in the Shops at Somerset Square in Glastonbury, The Olive Branch is marking its second year of being open for the holiday season.  

The Olive Branch name comes from the desire to help families who are receiving services from the Department of Children and Families by extending a hand to offer goodwill, and peacebuilding between our department and the families we serve says Jacqueline Ford, the Community Outreach Coordinator for DCF who helped launch The Olive Branch.  

“The symbolism of the olive branch felt like it could perfectly portray the message we were hoping our families would receive. DCF is often perceived as powerful and authoritative and our work in the child welfare system can be frightening for families. To have this opportunity to extend homage to our families is a true privilege” she says.  

And, she adds, that’s exactly what the store is. It's open to families that have active DCF cases, primarily serving the Hartford, Manchester, New Britain, Meriden, Middletown, and New Haven communities. 

Open by appointment only, what started as a holiday shop has now expanded to help families with other celebratory events, such as birthdays, religious milestones, quinceaneras, prom, and graduations.  

One of the major themes that Ford has observed working with parents and families is the relief they feel at being able to shop for their children, gift wrap those items and leave the store feeling as if they have a hand in creating joy for their children.  

“I’ve witnessed first-hand parents who cautiously walk through the front doors, not knowing what to expect. They are greeted warmly, with kindness and no judgment. They choose each gift with great intention and carefully gift-wrapped each item. Our staff mingled with our families, they talked and joked, carrying on everyday conversations, with no mention of their open DCF cases or of their struggles. Some parents cry, happy tears, and leave the experience with hugs and gratitude.” 

She’s thrilled, she adds, to see how the store has grown and has even started collecting donations for Christmas trees to help provide the full holiday experience for each family. 

 The Olive Branch is open for donations year-round. Ford wants families to know that those interested in donating can be reassured that the families who will benefit are grateful for their donation. 

The Olive Branch

140 Glastonbury Blvd, Somerset Square

To donate, email Jacqueline.ford@ct.gov

  • An Olive Branch volunteer plays with a child inside the store in Somerset Square.
  • Jacqueline Ford, inside The Olive Branch
  • Jacqueline Ford, inside The Olive Branch
  • A recently donated bike inside The Olive Branch