Human Services Students Travel to Thistle Farms



On Wednesday, April 3, 12 students from the Human Services Department at Bethel University traveled to Thistle Farms, a social enterprise in Middle Tennessee that is run by the women of Magdalene, a residential program for women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets.  While at Thistle Farms, the students participated in the morning devotional, toured the facility, and then served alongside the women of Magdalene in the farm’s paper making department.

     In the weeks prior to the trip, these Bethel students participated in what Thistle Farmers refer to as "harvesting cotton."  The students collected and donated nearly 700 cotton t-shirts which will be turned into rag paper. This paper will then be made into cards, journals, and other items by the women of Magdalene. These products (along with a line of bath and body products) are available in more than 200 stores in Tennessee and across the country. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of Thistle Farms products go back into the program that benefits the women of Magdalene. 

     The belief behind Magdalene is that love is the most powerful force for change in the world and their dream is that people will come to see Thistle Farms as a humble but powerful business synonymous with women’s freedom. 

     In attendance were students:  Zac Hannaford, Dylan Fussell, Jennifer Hamilton, Connie Oliver, Hayley Hatch, Lauren Stamps, Jessie Settles, Lindsay Johnson, Sabrina Sevah, Megan Parker, Kristen Birdwell, and Kayla Clanton. They were accompanied by Ms. Stacie Freeman, a faculty member in Bethel’s College of Liberal Arts.   

     Please visit for more information about their work and their vision.