31-year-old Matthew Gillespie was always known as a kind person despite lifelong struggles with mental illness and addiction. He was the father to two children and his mother Stephanie Butterfield said he would “always give you the shirt off his back.”
In August 2017, Matthew passed away from an accidental overdose.
In her grief, Stephanie decided to keep Matt’s memory and giving spirit alive by creating the non-profit organization May Angels Treasure Them, Inc. (M.A.T.T.) in March of 2018 in order to provide education and resources to those overcoming addiction.
Based in Middle River, May Angels Treasure Them offers assistance to those trying to live a sober life by finding, and screening, licensed and reputable sober living facilities and IOPs (Intensive Outpatient Program). They offer clothing and food to people in recovery who have left in-patient treatment and moved into longer-term facilities which M.A.T.T. also provides funding for.
Every applicant is evaluated and interviewed by M.A.T.T. and funding is paid directly to the chosen facility.
Stephanie said she watched addiction take over her son’s life for 16 years and through this, she was able to see a lot of things that were both good and bad within the system that treats addicts.
“It’s not an easy road, we want it to make it as easy as possible.”
She said that while Matt had a strong support system and a family that cared about him, but other people struggling with addiction do not.
Many don’t have a family to rely on and are navigating recovery alone, she said, which is why M.A.T.T. works to establish a connection with them and offer them the support they need.
Clients are recommended to them through the IOPs and sober living facilities.
M.A.T.T. monitors and follows up with their clients after a few weeks to make sure they are staying within the program. Stephanie said they have a great success rate with a majority of people staying and thriving with treatment.
M.A.T.T has worked closely with other local groups and assisted local organizations such as the DCT Foundation, Hope’s Horizon, Impact Society, Maryland Recovery Homes, The Nicholas House, and To Be Honest, LLC.
Stephanie mentions how her son struggled with mental health issues which lead to his eventual substance abuse.
This is the case for many of the people she works with, she said.
“Matthew’s illness did not define who he was. Even in his darkest times when he had nothing, Matt was always willing to help others,” states the M.A.T.T. website.
For her, the mission of M.A.T.T. is a continuation of how Matt lived. She recalls Matt seeing people in need during his stays in recovery homes and his willingness to help them.
“This is what he would want us to do. Matthew’s desire to help others will continue to live on through us.”
May Angels Treasure Them is run by volunteers and through public donations. In April, they held a quarter auction to raise funds and awareness for the cause.
Donations can be made through M.A.T.T.’s website. Donations of clothing, personal hygiene products and food cards are also accepted.
Anybody in need of assistance, or who knows someone who is encouraged to contact May Angels Treasure Them at 443-986-2099 or 443-986-2588.
For more information about the organization and what they do, visit www.mayangelstreasurethem.org.