Love at Work
Memphis is a geographic hub for sex trafficking and the scene of significant prostitution activity. Thistle and Bee was founded in 2015 to help women survivors reclaim their lives.
Our program has three parts
- Housing in a two-year residential community
- Wrap-around services addressing physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs
- Employment and job skills training in our social enterprise
We pay for this through product sales, donations, and grants.
Background on Thistle & Bee
We began in spring 2014 with a small group of volunteers. Inspired by Magdalene/Thistle Farms in Nashville, Tennessee, we set out make a difference in the lives of women exiting prostitution and sex trafficking in Memphis.
Thistle & Bee 501c3 status in May 2016. A Board of Directors was then formed and in 2017 professional staff was hired to implement a three-year strategic plan.
The organization began with a social enterprise based on keeping beekeeping and selling honey. We have since added super-premium granola made with our honey, herb teas, and beeswax candles.
Through a partnership with St. Columba Episcopal Conference Center, where the majority of the bees are housed, the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee, and local philanthropists, Thistle & Bee’s apiaries grew in summer 2018 from 13 colonies of bees to more than 80 colonies.
With a professional staff that includes a full-time Executive Director and Clinical Program Director, Thistle & Bee is now opening the program to more women.
Thistle & Bee offers women hope and healing through a holistic residential and therapeutic clinical program and employment in our social enterprise.
Thistle & Bee provides each woman services based on her needs. Their clinical program is two years, with aftercare available upon completion. The social enterprise offers the two years of employment at a living wage, with the potential for employment and mentoring roles beyond that.
Thistle & Bee works with the community to place and care for bee colonies. The community at these locations hosts our 80 colonies of bees:
- ARK Farms, Arlington, Tennessee
- Baptist Reynolds Hospice House, Collierville, Tennessee
- Church of the Holy Apostles, Memphis, Tennessee
- Immanuel Episcopal Church, La Grange, Tennessee
- Ravenscroft Episcopal Church, Brighton, Tennessee
- Second Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee
- St. Anne Episcopal Church, Millington, Tennessee
- St. Columba Episcopal Conference Center, Memphis, Tennessee
- St. Philip Episcopal Church, Memphis, Tennessee
- Private Farm Land, Millington, Tennessee
- Private Farm Land, Pocahontas, Tennessee