“I lived on the streets for two years, now I have a home and a car and I want to be a nurse. Taco Tuesday started it all.”

Teri’s Story

Teri was a junior in high school when her family moved to a new town in Oklahoma. She had no friends, she knew no one.

“I hung out with the druggies because they were nicer and more accepting,” Teri said. “But then I started doing drugs too.”

Through it all, Teri earned her Associates Degree in Applied Science. She had just been accepted into a nursing program in Oklahoma when Teri’s new boyfriend Aaron asked her to move away with him. She left her son and family behind.

Teri and Aaron moved to Arizona where they were homeless for two years. They lived on the streets using drugs regularly to escape the rough realities of life. “We did nothing productive,” Teri said.

On a hot afternoon in July, Teri and Aaron came to Paz de Cristo for dinner.

Taco Tuesday

It was Taco Tuesday. Community Court was held that day with Judge Tafoya. “Aaron had ten warrants for his arrest,” Teri explained. “He got into community court, but he kept messing up.” Aaron was ultimately sentenced to serve 30 days in jail.

“I was just tired, really tired of the way things were,” Teri shared. “When he got out of jail, I told Aaron ‘Let’s do something different this time.’” At that point, she had been using illegal drugs on and off for more than 13 years.

On Thanksgiving Day, Teri and Aaron secured safe, affordable shelter at a sober living home. “I’ve been clean for more than three months,” Teri said. “Taco Tuesday did it. Taco Tuesday started it all.”

Teri began participating in the community court program in January and graduated in February, 2019. She faced two shoplifting charges and one possession of illegal drugs. To be eligible for community court, Teri and Aaron

  1. – Secured a place to live
  2. – Found jobs
  3. – Stopped using illegal drugs
  4. – Intentionally committed acts of kindness including helping other residents in their sober living home by giving rides, clothing and tips to living drug-free.

As part of community court, Teri and Aaron received the services they so desperately needed to overcome their addictions. Community Court connects participants to Marc Community Resources and Community Bridges, Inc for a wide range of much-needed services including

  1. – Behavioral Health
  2. – Substance Abuse
  3. – Domestic Violence
  4. – Employment
  5. – Sober Living Houses
  6. – Rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addiction

Teri and Aaron graduated from the sober living intake house; now Teri and Aaron live in a three-quarter house. “We want to keep making good choices,” Teri shared

Navigators at Marc Community Resources helped Teri get a job at a call center. She earned the money she needed to pay rent each week for her sober living house and buy a car. “I had been walking everywhere I went for two years,” she said.

Teri looks forward to progressing, being productive and going forward. She wants to be a nurse, so she is looking into nursing programs in Arizona.

With help from Paz de Cristo, Marc Navigators and Community Court, Teri has turned her life around.

At Paz de Cristo, we give our guests a hand so they can get back on their feet. Compassion starts with a hot, nutritious meal. Clean clothes, a hot shower and a haircut give guests a fresh start. We also help people find jobs and remove barriers to that they can get ahead.

Many people like Teri just need a little help along with the right resources to get back on track. Your support fuels our life-changing mission to Feed, Clothe and Empower.

About Paz de Cristo

We are a place of peace and hope for people struggling with hunger, poverty and homelessness.

Last year, we served more than 16,000 men, women, children, veterans, and seniors with a wide range of supportive services from a hot meal every evening to food boxes, showers, clothing, job search assistance, bus passes, Arizona identification, mail service and much more.

Generous donors and volunteers fuel our mission to Feed, Clothe and Empower the homeless and working poor in the Phoenix East Valley. Paz de Cristo is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization that was born in 1988 as an outreach of St. Tim’s Catholic Church.

The first meal was prepared in the kitchen of a little yellow house on Country Club Drive. Dinner was transported and served on card tables in a parking lot on the corner of Hibbert & Main Streets in Mesa.

Today, a caring community of multiple faith traditions assists people with diverse religions, backgrounds and cultures at our expanded location in Mesa. Each month, we receive more than 7,000 visits by about 2,400 unique guests of which 600 people arrive for the very first time.

We give our guests a hand so that they can get back on their feet. We Feed, Clothe and Empower.


Follow stories of life change made possible by caring volunteers and generous donors.

Did You Know?

Of every dollar given to Paz de Cristo, 93 cents goes directly to help people struggling with hunger, poverty and homelessness.