Women’s empowerment has never tasted so sweet! by Barbara King and Bill Pichette

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Servant Ministry Partner Thistle and Bee accomplishes its mission with a strong belief in one thing—“the power of love to change the world.” For nearly six years, Thistle and Bee (T&B) has helped survivors of prostitution and sex-trafficking in Memphis learn how to thrive. Their approach is a holistic one, addressing the individual needs of each woman in our program.  T&B accomplishes this by first providing housing in a two-year residential community, then services addressing physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs. They empower these women through employment and job skills training in their social enterprise, a business which includes raising bees, harvesting honey, and manufacturing a variety of products from the hives.

All of this adds up to women thriving outside of their former lives. Many T&B clients were trapped in multi-generational cycles of abuse and addiction. Some were first abused as young girls or babies. Their survival is a miracle in itself, but our partner’s goal is to help them live, not to merely survive. This drive to thrive has a definite positive impact on our community as a whole, and your outreach team is happy to have partnered with Thistle and Bee for the last two years—and to have extended that partnership for 2021. Our grant fills a small but vital percentage of their overall budget, helping to provide housing and those vital services such as counseling and healthcare. 

Training and Employing Women

Products

Training and employing women in the business of bees and hive products also provides some financial support to Thistle and Bee’s programs. From a few hives, survivors, and volunteers, their social enterprise has grown to 53 hives supplying a range of products via a website and 12 retail outlets. Empowered women trained in beekeeping, baking honey granola, bottling honey, process mapping, inventory control, stress management, and customer service, help make this a reality. However, the success of this business relies on customers. 

Please look for Thistle and Bee’s products at our local farmers’ markets and favorite outlets such as Cordelia’s and Curb Markets and others. You can also order directly from their website (thistleandbee.org/collections/all). I’ve been told that their original recipe for Honey Baked Granola is especially delicious. You can also cover all of your needs for corporate gifts, bulk orders, party favors, and custom orders by emailing sales [at] thistleandbee [dot] org. Women’s empowerment has never tasted so sweet!

Hive

From the Hive: Addison’s Story

Addison Thistle And Bee

As we said, 2020 has been challenging, but victories are all around us. Our two-year residential program at Thistle and Bee is truly a testament to what can be accomplished in a healing environment. Addison, a survivor in the program, is an amazing, powerful example of this kind of change. 

Addison is the second out of six in her family to graduate from high school and now the first to attend college. After entering Thistle and Bee in March, Addison came to us on fire with the mission in her heart. Her strong desire to be the guiding light to help bring other survivors home led to this goal of wanting to achieve a social work degree.  Wasting no time and overcoming barriers in this pandemic, she is an active student working towards her dream. Not only this, but she recently began working on our social enterprise team. With her one year anniversary of sobriety approaching, I’d say ‘this girl is on fire!’ Congratulations Addison! 

-Bethany Hanczor, LPC-MHSP (Clinical Program Director) and Taylor Clark (Clinical Intern)

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