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Missoula women's recovery program selling Christmas trees

Adult and Teen Challenge Christmas tree lot
Posted at 11:12 AM, Dec 11, 2022

MISSOULA - The Adult and Teen Challenge Missoula Campus is an all-women recovery program for drug and alcohol addiction.

This December, they are hosting a Christmas tree lot, and all of the proceeds go towards the organization and the women going through the program.

Adult and Teen Challenge has been in Missoula since 2001 and offers a 12 to 15-month recovery home for women.

As part of the healing process, the program has the women work at the organization's thrift store, volunteer in the community, participate in individual and group counseling, and attend 20 hours of educational classes each week.

The program costs about $3500 per month, but the Christmas tree lot and work at the thrift store can help women afford the fees.

“Every time someone purchases a tree from this tree lot, they’re supporting these women on their sobriety journey," said Missoula Adult and Teen Challenge Director Jamie Rindal.

Rindal says she has found her purpose in the program and the women she helps.

“My mother struggled for a really long time, she’s now 12 years sober," she says. "And I did lose my sister to an opioid addiction, and so it is not just a job for me, it is a passion and it’s a calling.”

The women in the program, whose ages range from 19 to 63, work alongside adult and teen challenge staff to run a Christmas tree sale in the parking lot of Christian Life Center.

Although it’s cold, the group of women try to make it enjoyable through things like TikTok dances and costumes.

“We get to be goofy and we get to come out here and have fun," Rindal says. "We kind of get to be taken away from the trouble of what they’re walking through, and they get to be out and enjoying themselves. It’s a breath of fresh air.”

The lot helps encourage the women to get out into the community and connect with locals. Rindal says serving others can be a big key to recovery.

“Watching them be able to communicate with the community and share a little bit about their story, there’s something that transforms inside of them. And it’s just so fun."

Jo Winters who works at the tree lot went through the program for drug addiction and said Adult and Teen Challenge Missoula saved her life.

“I was addicted to heroin and lived in a tent for about five years, in and out of jail," she says. "I had a family member who went through the program in Spokane, and it saved his life, and so he told my family about it and then I got to go and have the same experience. It is a great organization, it has literally changed everything about me and who I am and just my outlook on life and my future. I have a future. Which I did not have before.”

Winters is done with the program, but she is now working as the organization's outreach coordinator. She can't say enough good things about Adult and Teen Challenge and would recommend it to anyone looking for addiction support. She says she hopes people will come support the organization.

"Buying a tree from us, it puts hope, it fills a bed, it helps support our girls that don’t have family support anymore. It puts hope into people who don’t have any hope left," Winters says.

“Come be a catalyst for hope, be a catalyst for change, come be a part of this," Rindal says. "They are beautiful trees and you are truly supporting an organization that puts hope within reach, and lives are being changed.”

The lot is open Sunday-Thursday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. They will remain open until Dec. 22, or whenever the trees run out.

More information can be found on their Facebook page.