Moms in rehab grateful for Christmas Angels

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX -- It's a shelter for Valley adults trying to regroup after battling drugs and alcohol. Many of them leave behind young children while in treatment. But this Christmas, those children will get something to smile about thanks to the 3TV Salvation Army Christmas Angel program.

Caitlyn Gawley spends her days organizing donated books inside the Salvation Army Warehouse. The work is a critical part of her treatment. The 25-year-old spent nearly a decade abusing drugs and alcohol.

"It started with weed and then I was drinking with that, and it just went from coke to eventually meth and heroin, which brought me down to my knees," she said. "I went to jail." 

Gawley has 7-year-old twins, Lexi and Logan. This year she'll be able to send them gifts thanks to the Christmas Angel program.

"My children aren't even expecting it and it's just a big surprise for all of us," she said.

Every year the Salvation Army turns its chapel into a special toy shop for parents enrolled in its treatment program.

"I had accepted the fact that I wasn't going to be able to give them anything at all," Gawley said.

Ellen Lomatewama said her two children will be surprised to get gifts.

"They're not expecting anything from me and like I said I didn't expect to be able to get them anything so it's a wonderful feeling," she said. "When they read the tag, I know that they're going to be excited like oh wow my mom sent me something? That's so cool, you know, she must have worked hard to do this and it is hard work being here."

While both moms will be in treatment and not able to spend the holidays with their families, they're beyond grateful their kids are Christmas Angels.

"Just the smallest gift really does make a difference," Lomatewama said. 

"It makes me feel like people care," Gawley said. "I didn't really see that in the world, I didn't really experience that and it is warming and it just lets me see the good in people."