Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thistle Farms In Atlanta

Thistle Farms products are found in over 200 stores across the US, Canada, Singapore and the United Kingdom.  We are inviting our friends in the Atlanta market to get more involved and find their personal connection with the women and products of Thistle Farms.

Credit:  Atlanta Neighborhoods
Why Atlanta?
The bath and body products of Thistle Farms are handmade by the women of Magdalene, a two-year residential community located in Nashville, but serving women from all over the Southeast.  The women who have survived lives of trafficking, violence, and addiction were victims, long before they ever saw the inside of prison walls -- victims of abuse and a culture that can turn a blind eye to social injustice. The universal issues of violence are borne on the individual backs of women, and it will take entire communities from around the country to change a culture that still buys and sells women.  

The prevalence of trafficking and prostitution of women in Atlanta is one of the highest in the nation. We are deeply grateful that Atlanta has welcomed the women of Magdalene and Thistle Farms into its churches and into the Whole Foods Market. Now it is our turn to express our gratitude by deepening that connection.  We hope that by our increased presence in Atlanta we can share the beautiful truth that love is more powerful than all the forces that drive women to the streets. 

We are compelled to fulfill our mission by the urgency of one hundred women on our waiting list. Selling Thistle Farms products and sharing our story with a wider community in Atlanta will not only allow more women to enter the sanctuary of Magdalene, but hopefully inspire more communities to create their own residential space for healing. We are asking to become partners with the common pursuit of women’s freedom as we launch an effort to strengthen our presence in Atlanta. By deepening our friendship and with the purchase of every Thistle Farms product, we believe that united we can have a greater impact on change that will bring hope and healing to women in Nashville, Atlanta and beyond.

How can you help?

1. “Like” Thistle Farms Atlanta Supporters on your Facebook page. Stay updated with Atlanta-specific events and deals and connect to other Atlanta supporters. Learn about the issues of human trafficking and prostitution in the Atlanta area, and be connected to organizations helping those affected. Visit us HERE.

2.  Purchase Thistle Farms products at Whole Foods.  Seven Whole Foods stores in the Atlanta area are selling our products now. In order to support the program’s presence in Atlanta, we need you to buy our products and spread the story of Magdalene and Thistle Farms. See the “Contact” tab on Facebook for a map of locations.

3. Invite our founder, Becca Stevens, to come speak at an event to your organization or congregation. Learn about the story behind the Magdalene program and hear Becca’s motivation for spreading the ministry of Magdalene and Thistle Farms.  Contact for more information.

4. Host a Thistle Farms party. Invite your friends over to hear the story of Thistle Farms and have the opportunity to test and buy the products.  Contact to discuss details.

5. Make a donation to Thistle Farms. Your donations and support are what keep the doors open. Click on our "Donate" page on our website.

6. Start an organization like Magdalene in Atlanta. Channel your entrepreneurial skills and passion for social justice to create a haven for women on the streets in Atlanta. Contact to learn about our education programs.

See you in Atlanta!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Meet Yolanda

Yolonda is a mother, sister, daughter, friend and active agent of change for her community. She grew up in Nashville with three sisters and two brothers. Yolonda began experimenting with drugs while she was a teenager and eventually became addicted. She spent approximately twenty years in the throws of addiction in spite of several attempts to get clean including going "cold turkey" through the birth of her son. She believe that Magdalene is helping her find a way out. She learned about Magdalene through her best friend who works as a resident manager. After entering the program, Yolanda discovered that love heals, and through sharing her struggles and triumphs with her sisters in the program, she has found healing. Yolonda said that Magdalene finally helped her realize a profound truth: “It wasn’t just the drugs. I had some deep core issues to work on.”

When asked what she has learned during her recovery, Yolonda says that Magdalene and Thistle Farms have taught her the principles of hospitality and living a life free of judgment towards oneself and others. After being in the program for 18 months, Yolonda was able to move out and start on a new path as an affiliate of the program. Yolonda now calls Thistle Farms her safe haven and comes to work everyday with a healthy respect for authority and a great sense of pleasure in working on a team to achieve common goals. She has moved up from manufacturing and now works in the shipping department. Ever-willing to step up, Yolanda says that there is still so much work to be done and believes “there’s no time to be tired” when one is devoted to the work of love, healing, and building community. With a warmhearted smile, she concludes that is indeed better to give than receive.

Always a Thistle Farmer, Yolonda recommends the Tea Tree Shower Gel to anyone interested in Thistle Farms products. She says, “It’s such a clean refreshing feeling after I use the tea tree shower gel. I step out of the shower and start singing.”

Sunday, January 1, 2012

And A Happy New Year!

Counting blessings,
and saying prayers for the New Year.
It has been wet and cold in Nashville over the holidays. This weather magnifies for every person the gratitude we all  feel for warm, safe beds and cozy hearths. Magdalene offers residential sanctuary for 28 women who speak eloquently about what it means to have a place to call home after surviving the underside of bridges, the backside of abandoned houses, and the inside of prison. It's always sobering to remember that on the eve of 2012, there are over a hundred more women wanting to come live in this community.  

On the final day of Thistle Farms before the holidays, employees offered up the following prayers:
- For those still on the streets who don’t get to appreciate the beauty of this time of year
- For the women sleeping behind a brick wall this Christmas
- For those that don’t know the hope in this place and the love in this circle
- For those walking the streets that can’t find their way
- For the family I haven’t seen in three years
- For my sister I haven’t seen in a year and gratitude that we get to spend Christmas together
- Thank you for giving Becca this vision
- Thank you for loving me regardless of my past, and for teaching me to love myself
Thank you for being a part of this work.
Because Magdalene and Thistle Farms do not take any government funding, your gifts keep our doors open (and the heat on), year after year. We are thankful for all the ways the work is supported by buying candles and body balms, by telling a friend about the mission of Magdalene, by hosting a home party, by inviting Thistle Farms to speak at a church, by collecting thistles, and by make financial gifts. Thank you for all the ways you give.

With much love and gratitude from all the women
of Magdalene and Thistle Farms.
Happy New Year!