Thistle Farms and Becca Stevens Helping Women Globally

Every morning, we wake up and get ready for the day. For many that routine includes taking a shower, putting on lotion and makeup and getting dressed. For the employees of Thistle Farms, the simple purchase and use of everyday products like bath and body mean hope for women globally. Thistle Farms is a social enterprise that employs 45-50 women that are surviving and healing from addiction, trafficking, and homelessness. In addition to making natural products they become specialists in manufacturing, inventory, sales and learning how to run an enterprise.

Becca Stevens founded Thistle Farms in 2001. It started as a home for four women survivors of trafficking, addiction and prostitution under the name Magdalene in 1997. Today, the residential program of Thistle Farms provides housing for up to 32 women and serves hundreds more through advocacy and referral services. It also manages an inmate program, Magdalene on the Inside, for an additional 6 incarcerated women. The residential program offers housing, medical care, therapy, education and job training for two years, without charging women or receiving government funding.

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“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them.  To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more.  So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more.  But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” Matthew 25:14-18

Stevens was named a “Champion of Change,” by the White House and in 2016 she was recognized as a CNN Hero. She shared in her CNN Hero interview about the importance of community at Thistle Farms.  “Those scars are deep, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the story. None of the women ended up on the streets by themselves. And so it makes sense that it takes a community to welcome them home.”

Thistle Farms’ social enterprises employs residents and graduates of the residential program. In addition to the bath and body product line, they also operate Thistle Stop Cafe, the Studios Workshop and Thistle Farms Global Marketplace. Housed in an 11,000 sq. ft. facility in Nashville, Tennessee. Half of the leadership team of Thistle Farms are residents and graduates of the program and 1,000 women are employed through our Global partners.

“After a longtime the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.  The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’  “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’  “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’  “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.” Matthew 25:19-25

Stevens shares her vision of how the purchase of products can help others. “We are acting globally so women experience freedom locally.” 

Risen Reflections

Help others. Whether it is purchasing an item that gives back or starting a transitional home, each of us has been given time, talent and treasure that we need to use to help others. Take time this week and reflect on the things that have been entrusted to you. Ask a friend or those in your small group what they see as your talents or skills. Pray and ask God how you can be using those things to glorify Him. Read and reflect on the parable of the talents. Consider if you are hiding your talents or if you are using them to their fullest potential.

Give gifts that matter. This holiday season consider giving friends and family members gifts that have a tie in with a social cause. You can include a little bit about the organization and why you are passionate about it in the card. It is encouraging to know that your gift will not only bless the recipient but someone in need as well. Whether it is a gift exchange at work, a stocking stuffer or a larger item, there are many companies that partner with organizations to give back locally and globally.

Pray for others. Take time this week and pray for the women globally that are being helped by Thistle Farms and other like-minded organizations. Pray that God would help them overcome their addictions and begin the healing process. Pray for job training and resources to help them get back on their feet.

Don’t forget to check out our Facebook and Instagram. We are will be doing some giveaways including a candle set from Thistle Farms in December.

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