Christmas Blessings: Latoya’s Story

Merry Christmas to You and Your Family!  What has been your favorite part of the Christmas Season? Sharing a meal with family and friends?  Spending quality time with loved ones? Celebrating the wonder of salvation and God’s love for us?

This year has been a difficult and different kind of year for many of us. COVID-19 and the new terminologies associated with it, like social distancing and wearing masks, were not part of our Christmas last year. At Gilgal, we have been blessed that our staff and clients have remained virus free. 

As we approach the Christmas holidays, I want to introduce you to Latoya A., who lost her mother just before Thanksgiving. While that would be a reason some clients would use to leave, Latoya is convinced that she needs what we offer at Gilgal.

Meet LaToya M.

My name is Latoya A. I am 40 years old and was raised in the metro-Atlanta area. I have two brothers, and I am the oldest sibling. I also have three children of my own, ages 16, 12 and 9.

Before coming to Gilgal, I was miserable and lonely and caught in a cycle of damaging behaviors. My addiction to crack, alcohol and marijuana led me into destructive patterns that caused me to ultimately be arrested. While I was incarcerated in Cobb County Jail, I was offered a plea deal with a choice of being sentenced to prison or entering a recovery program. I was tired of being sick and tired, so I chose recovery and in July was transported to Gilgal. 

Since entering the program, I have made the decision to allow God to take charge of my life. I have learned that if I want things to change, I must be teachable, transparent, and willing to put in the footwork to make my recovery a reality.

Christmas is right around the corner, and this time last year I was deep into my addiction. Last Christmas was just like any other day before it. I was working, but barely functioning and unable to stop my drug use. Being at Gilgal this Christmas will be entirely different. I may not be with my family, but I am healthy, positive and have been sober for a total of eleven months. I am also surrounded by sober women who care about me.

I admit I am struggling right now because my mom passed away over the Thanksgiving holiday. I knew it would be difficult to attend her memorial and see my family after so long. Especially, knowing that I would have to leave them again. There were moments during the memorial service when I did not want to return to Gilgal. While it was hard to leave them, I knew in my heart that my family (and especially my mother) would want me to complete the program.

Today, I am more determined than ever to maintain my recovery. I am grateful for Ms. Val, the Gilgal staff, and my Gilgal sisters who have given me the love and support I need to deal with my mother’s death. It is painful right now, but my heart is full of hope. I am grateful for this program and especially my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I look forward to what the future holds for me as a renewed person. I want to reestablish my relationships with my family and my children, and be a healthy, active part of their lives. I now believe that is possible with God in my life. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me. Please pray for me as I continue toward graduation. Change happens at Gilgal, and I am part of it! 

WHY DOES CHANGE NEED TO HAPPEN?

In the Atlanta community alone, more than 1,000 women are experiencing homelessness and addiction. At Gilgal, Latoya is just one example of the many women who come to us in crisis.

100% of Gilgal residents meet the official definitions of “poverty” and “homeless

75% of Gilgal women are victims of childhood abuse, neglect, or trauma

60% of Gilgal women are victims of intimate partner violence

75% of women have received at least one mental health diagnosis

40% of residents have had their children removed by protective services

WHAT IMPACT IS GILGAL MAKING?

Gilgal is a Christ-centered, long-term, recovery residence for women experiencing homelessness due to drugs and/or alcohol addiction. We are a cost-effective organization with an important mission to metro-Atlanta and greater Georgia. Gilgal provides housing and nutrition, as well as a full range of recovery services including Spiritual enrichment, life skills training, workforce development, love, and ongoing support to women in need.

Gilgal programs are free of charge – eliminating barriers to receiving services
Gilgal serves single women over the age of 18
Gilgal has 3 residences and serves an avg. of 50+ women yearly
Women come from all walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds

Crack, Alcohol and Meth are the top 3 drugs of choice for Gilgal women

The result is life-changing transformation that includes job growth, life skills, education attainment and most importantly reconnection to people who love them. Your support will help them experience warmth and care this winter, throughout the year and the rest of their lives.

HOW CAN YOU BECOME A CHANGE AGENT?

We invite you to become a part of the change that is happening at Gilgal by becoming a monthly donor or by making a one-time gift.  Every gift and every donor matters. Your contribution combined with other gifts can dramatically change and improve the lives of our residents. Giving is easy.

DONATE BY MAIL
Payable to Gilgal, Inc.
P.O. Box 150777
Atlanta, GA  30315-1092

MAKE AN ONLINE CONTRIBUTION
Visit DONATE NOW  
in the top section of our website:
www.womenofgilgal.org

 

Change Happens at Gilgal because of faithful partners like you. We wish you every blessing for a healthy and prosperous 2021!

With gratitude,
Val Cater
Executive Director

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