Truck of Love Ministries Current Newsletter (Click here to view past Truck of Love newsletters.)

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September 2023

"It is impossible for peace to exist without dialogue. All the wars, all the strife, all the unsolved problems over which we clash are due to a lack of dialogue. When there is a problem, talk: this makes peace." Pope Francis

Dear Friends,

We’ve been talking a lot lately.

Today is day 30 of Her Place being open. We accepted six women to be in our first group. On opening day, July 10, we had several volunteers going around town picking up the women from shelters and other places. The excitement was electric.

To be a resident at Her Place a woman must be homeless. All the women we interviewed have experienced a variety of traumas that would destroy most people. These women are resilient. They have slept on the streets, in shelters, and on friend’s couches. They have not known when or where their next meal will be. They have struggled to survive. They have unaddressed health problems, they need dental and eye care, and many have mental health diagnoses. They have been neglected and abused. Coming to Her Place where we have a set of rules can be daunting.

Of the six women we chose, five showed up. One of the five left at 10:30 the first night. The other four were excited to be with us. They knew for the first 90 days they would be with us full-time, no work. We want to give them time to begin to heal, begin to trust, and understand they are in a safe place.  We have been to doctors, filled prescriptions, gotten hair done, and set up eye doctor appointments. We have had classes in conflict resolution, communication, accountability, etiquette (how to set a table and how to use a napkin), yoga, diet, and exercise.  Lots more opportunities to come. We have Friday night movie night. And the Uno games and other group building activities are uproarious.

The residents are proud of the house and are keeping it clean like new. They love to cook. We cook and eat together. Our vegetable garden produces loads of cucumbers and squash, and the tomato worms love our tomato plants. The residents mow the backyard lawns, water the plants, and pull the weeds. We have very generous volunteers who care for the front yard.

We’ve had our ups and downs, but the women have been doing their best. Last week one of the four left and so we now have three. We have interviewed several women and we have two new residents joining us this Saturday. It’s going to be a roller coaster ride for a while. It is easy to say, “I am tired of my life”. It is very hard to put in the work to change one’s life.

We meet each morning for meditation. We light a candle for the women who have left us, who are still on the street, and those who are coming to us. We want to be a welcoming community of women who are helping each other.

The women are aware of the hundreds of people who have contributed money, time, sweat, and prayers to the success of Her Place.  They are grateful for your support.

A friend and I have been living at the house for the past thirty days. Volunteer house assistants come in regularly to do projects and be present. Our hope is that soon the volunteers will be comfortable enough with the house and the residents that we can rotate going home.  It is important to us that we create a peaceful, accepting environment for each woman.

Volunteers join us for meals. The first time a volunteer was present at lunch we had great discussions and when it was over one of the residents came to me and said,” I’ve never sat at a meal and had a nice conversation like that. It made me feel really special.”

We have had many special times with the women. We listen to heartbreaking stories that are hard to tell. We reflect on our lives that are now intertwined. We encourage, argue, resolve conflicts, and hopefully learn new healthy habits. It is hard. It is wonderful. We will keep talking. Please continue to pray for us.

God bless you all,

As summer ends, Truck of Love is looking to complete two more big projects: one that will help us create work for the women on our campus and one for recreation and reflection. We are grateful for your help getting us this far.


March 2023

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your donations, prayers, and encouragement. Each time I send out this newsletter I receive such kind notes. You bring light into my days.

Her Place transitional home for women is almost ready to open. On February 27 the Boards of Directors of both Her Place and Truck of Love gathered with some 100 friends in the finished residence. Father Tony Mancuso came from California to bless the home and Mayor John Gettys of Rock Hill helped Regeana Phillips and I cut the ribbon. What a great day – three years in the making.

When Pete and I started this project with Regeana and many others, we naively thought we would rent a house and open a shelter. When no appropriate rentals were available, we were shown the property that is now Her Place. It is perfect. With one main house where the women will reside, a cottage for the office and meeting space, a separate cottage to bring in work that the women will do to earn an income on campus, and a wonderful yard where we can grow vegetables and flowers and relax in the shade; we could not have dreamed of a better environment where women will have time to heal from their traumas and find a place of peace and safety.

The main house and office are done. We must still landscape the yard, install fencing, create a patio, and move in furnishings before we are ready to open our doors. This will take several more weeks. Truck of Love still needs your help to finish; we are close, but not quite there.  As with all construction projects we had no idea what we would uncover. Every time we turned around there was more termite damage, one more pipe to be changed, a roof to replace, another visit by an engineer, a railing to build, or drainage to form and new concrete to pour. All of that costs money. We have a new home that will last through generations of women.

These three years have enabled us to create the program structure for what will be a long-term transitional home for women. The program will enable a woman to enter Her Place and stay up to two years or more as long as she is progressing with her goals. We will have classes and opportunities that will help each woman discover who she is as a child of God and how to function in this society. There will be time for her to relax, feel safe, build trust, and become the woman God intended her to be.

Yesterday I had conversations with two women who are experiencing great darkness in their lives. One is living between her car and a local emergency shelter. She starts a job on Monday at 4am and was asking me where she can park her car that is safe and where she can get cleaned up at 3am before she heads to work. The other is living between motel rooms and the emergency shelter. She is struggling with an addiction to alcohol and does “whatever I have to do” to get a motel room for the night.

As I described the idea of Her Place – creating a community of women who will help each other – a new light emerged and overtook their countenances. Her Place where a woman can stay 24 hours a day seven days a week. Where we will have meditation, yoga, art, cooking, and gardening opportunities. Where a woman can learn conflict resolution, anger management, budgeting, parenting, or get her GED. Where we will help a woman fix her teeth, get her health checks and medications, and support her if she is attending AA or NA meetings. Where there will be other women who understand the journey of homelessness, addiction, abuse, and incarceration and will walk with each other toward wholeness.

Listening intently, these women started to ask questions: Will the women have to leave during the day? Answer: This is home. If a woman has an appointment, job, or an off-campus meeting, they will leave the campus. But if a woman is doing her chores, studying for a class, or engaging in some on campus activity then she can stay all day at Her Place. Women will be expected to prepare and eat meals together as a family. There will be a chore list. Yes, there is a time to get up and a time for lights out. There will be house meetings, weekly check ins with staff, game nights, movie nights, and special outings as a family. 

One woman asked if there will be doors on the bedrooms. She was concerned because she had been in a shelter where there was a man on staff and no place for privacy. Answer: There will be no men allowed in the residence, unless he is accompanied by staff, and he is either helping with a class or doing maintenance.  There are doors on the bedrooms.

We intend to begin with six residents so we can work out the “bugs” in the day-to-day operations. We are not into numbers, so in a few months if that number is still six women who are working toward their goals that will be ok. We will grow slowly. The house can accommodate a maximum 15 residents. Our intention is that the women will graduate with the ability to support themselves, have a stable place to live, and a means of transportation. We also hope the graduates of our program will come back to share their stories with future residents.

Thank you for sharing your light so Her Place can be a place of light for women.

God bless you,


If you live in the Rock Hill area, we will be looking for volunteers. There will be a volunteer application available on the Her Place website: by the end of March.
We need volunteers in the residence to sign residents in and out, be mentors and take women to appointments, supervise the house and daytime chores, do light housework, assist with meals, lead classes, and be present and sleep in the residence overnight.
We need volunteers in the Office to answer phones, do bookkeeping, write thank you notes, organize volunteers, and other clerical chores.
As we gain experience, there will be other opportunities.


July 2022

Dear Friends, 

We have the permit! Renovation has started. Her Place transitional home for women is coming. 

Since we began our Capital Campaign in April of 2020 you, our magnificent donors have gifted us with $740,000.00. We have spent $271,852.00 on purchasing the house, city fees, insurance, taxes (for which we have filed an abatement since we are a 501(c)3 organization), inspections, lawn mowing, tree cutting, and demolition. Thank you. 

During these two plus years our mantra has been: in God’s time. I’ll add another that my brother used to tell me: patience is a virtue. We are working on having patience with God’s timing. 

As I stand on the grounds of Her Place, I imagine several women outside with me. One is interested in growing flowers and is clipping buds to take inside, another walks to the vegetable patch where she chooses the vegetables that we will cook that evening, someone else is taking kitchen scraps to the compost bin, and another is simply sitting in the shade of the big tree savoring the peace and quiet. Inside women will be engaged in morning chores: cleaning bathrooms, washing dishes, dusting, or loading the washing machine with their week’s laundry. The residents of Her Place will have opportunities to learn life skills in an environment of peace, safety, and acceptance. There will be opportunities for discovering talents, focusing on potential jobs, creating a resume, and understanding how to conduct oneself at a job interview. I know this will come to fruition- in God’s time. 

I met with two women this week who would be wonderful candidates for Her Place. Each is living in a local emergency shelter. One is on disability and needs a safe place to stay and save some money for a home of her own. She had just spent some time in jail on a drug charge. Because Social Security kept paying her disability while she was incarcerated, she now must pay back over $3,000.00 to Social Security. Last month she did not get a check. She has no family, no place to live, and so she is in the shelter for a maximum of 90 days. She leaves the shelter in the morning and cannot return until evening. She knows she made a bad mistake, and she wants to move forward with her life, but she is hampered by a treatable mental illness, no savings, and no current income. She is young enough to take advantage of all we will have to offer at Her Place. I wanted to tell her about it, but we are at least six months out from opening and I did not want to offer something she cannot have. Again, I need patience. 

The other woman is someone I have known for several years. She came by the Outreach Office where I spend my Tuesdays and Thursdays, and she simply wanted to tell me she is now clean and sober. She has just celebrated four months and is clear eyed and alert – I’d never seen her this way. She is 55 years old and is temporarily staying in the women’s emergency shelter. She told me how she left her longtime boyfriend because he is still doing drugs. She knows she cannot go back to the old neighborhood. She still struggles each day with the pull of the drugs, but each day she prays and remembers what she was once like and how good she feels now. She is taking life one day at a time. She is on disability and wants to find a place to live. She is not ready to be on her own. She needs time: time to learn to love herself, time to see that she is loved by her God just as she is, time to understand how people have used her and abused her, and time to learn to live this new life she has been given. I wanted to tell her about Her Place, but I need to be patient. 

While many of the Truck of Love resources are going to the creation of Her Place, I still get phone calls from people in need of emergency assistance. A 62-year-old woman, Beth, called to ask for help paying two nights for a motel room. She had come here from another state to help her sister who had cancer. Beth spent all her savings on caring for her sister and when she died, Beth was left with only her Social Security check and no place to stay. She landed in a local motel and the day she called me she said she had just gotten a job at Mc Donald’s to supplement her meager income. She needed a couple of nights rent for the motel until her check came in from Social Security. She has no car but can walk to Mc Donald’s for work. Additionally, she was applying to work at Home Depot which also was within walking distance. 

Another call came from Cherry. She explained she was living with her brother who was withholding food and money from her. She had come to visit and had taken ill and had been hospitalized for several weeks. After listening to her long, convoluted story, I made the decision to help her return to her home in Florida. I purchased her plane ticket and I decided I could drive her to the airport. However, when I arrived to pick her up, she had a little yapping dog in a carrying case. The airline would not let her near the airplane. I could not drive her on another day, but a caseworker from another local agency helped her the following day by sedating the dog and paying for her extra bag. She arrived at the safety of her Florida home with our combined efforts. 

I am deeply grateful to each of you and your support of the work of Truck of Love. You are changing lives. 

God bless you,


On March 25 and 26 our family and friends gathered here in Rock Hill, South Carolina to celebrate Pete’s life. We were humbled by the number of people who flew in from California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Colorado, Oregon, Illinois, Washington, New Mexico, and other places. Many friends drove hours to get here. We had a glorious celebration of Pete’s life. We were able to stream the services on our parish’s Facebook page: St. Mary Catholic Church, Rock Hill. If you didn’t get a chance to view the services, they are still available on the Facebook page – just scroll down to the dates. You can also view highlights on the Truck of Love webpage: Pete has gone to his reward, but Truck of Love and his dream of Her Place are a huge part of his legacy.
We thank each of you for your support during these past months. Your prayers, cards, calls, and presence have enriched all our lives.


More Information and Updates on Her Place 

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