Happy shopping! Place your order by 12/15 for standard shipping and 12/19 for priority to ensure delivery before Christmas

Sharing the Light of Isabel Allenda

by Bingran Zeng April 15, 2015

Sharing the Light of Isabel Allenda

The Rev. Frannie Kieschnick has been a dear friend to Thistle Farms. We asked her to write the dedication of the new  Share the Light Campaign to author, activist -- and Thistle Farmer -- Isabel Allende.
What a huge gift, as well as an honor and a responsibility, it was for Thistle Farms to be awarded the Isabel Allende Foundation’s annual $80,000 2014 Espiritu Award. Isabel created her foundation with the proceeds from her writing and in the name of her beloved daughter Paula, who passed away at the age of 28.
 
However, the gift wasn’t only in the form of the generous infusion of financial support just when Thistle Farms was launching it's global initiative, Shared Trade: A Fair Share for Women. It was also the infusion of light which filled and flowed from each of the women invited to Isabel’s home last fall to witness her presenting the award to three Thistle Farms women, Becca, Anika and Shana. 
 
Sitting in a sacred circle that night, we did what we always do together. We lit a candle for the unknown women who remain in the darkness of despair, addiction, poverty, prostitution, and trafficking.
 
Then we went around and shared about someone who has been a light for us in our lives, especially in a dark time. We wept and laughed. We fell in love with each other in that circle of sharing our stories without even knowing everyones’ names. We celebrated the presence of Paula’s compassionate spirit and we watched Becca and Isabel, two magnificent, beloved, feisty, radiant women, lean lovingly toward one another sharing the same passion for justice for women, especially the most vulnerable. 
 
Soon after the evening of that intimate gathering at Isabel’s home, she received the Presidential Medal of Honor. As President Obama presented her with the honor, he said of her that she writes about the big stuff, about families, magic, romance, oppression, violence, redemption, and makes them accessible. Through her foundation, she ensures that women and children facing violence and oppression can gain access to resources to transform their lives, and to thrive, not just survive. Doesn’t this sound like Thistle Farms and Shared Trade?
 
It was during that gathering at Isabel’s home, sharing in a circle and in a meal, that a flicker of an idea began to burn in the hearts of the Thistle Farmers. That flicker has caught fire and become the Share the Light Campaign.
 
Through her foundation in honor of Paula she shares the light of hope. Through the Espiritu Award she has shared the light of hope with Thistle Farms. How can we not dedicate our Share the Light Campaign to Isabel Allende? -- Frannie Kieschnick

Watch the video below to meet Isabel and to feel a part of that special evening.

For information about participating in the Thistle Farms Share the Light campaign and help your local community and the women of Thistle Farms, visit here.

Bingran Zeng
Bingran Zeng



Also in Community Blog

Meet Ericka: Professional, Board Member, Thistle Farms Graduate

by Melanie Reitz November 10, 2016

A 2003 Thistle Farms graduate, and now member of Thistle Farms’ Board of Directors, Ericka Monroe has a clear message for women coming into Thistle Farms: You can do it. In 2001, this is the message she received from Becca Stevens, and it has guided her ever since.  Ericka came to the program having spent four years on the streets. She was sure she wouldn’t stay, but, as she got to know the women around her, she realized there was something different here.


Read More
From the Streets to Accounts Manager: Chelle is Living Proof

by Melanie Reitz October 12, 2016

The growth Thistle Farms has enjoyed in the last several years has kept Chelle Waller, survivor-leader and Accounts Manager, very busy. As a 2005 graduate, Chelle has seen a great deal of change since she first began. “At one time, we were only about 5 women working here, just at one little table,” Chelle recalls. Now, Chelle manages the accounts payable process for a company with a $4 million budget.
Read More
We Are Not Alone: A Blog from Becca

by Becca Stevens September 19, 2016

On Thistle Farm's third trip to visit the Ikirezi community, Nicholas told me that our ecommerce partnership was important, not just because of the added economic value, but because it was a reminder that he wasn’t alone in this work. What he meant was that despite the overwhelming obstacles one faces in justice work out in the fields, we can overcome our times of loneliness and heartbreak if we work together.
Read More