Moving to Independence: One Car at a Time

by Marlei Olson June 22, 2016

One of the goals of Thistle Farms is to move women from poverty to economic independence. Income provided by jobs through our social enterprises is an important step; reliable transportation is another. While women are residents, the Magdalene program team, and a very busy van, help shuttle women back and forth to appointments. Bus service is another key component. But as women move towards graduation, increasing their working hours or becoming employed elsewhere, having their own means of transportation becomes more vital.

To support the move to independence, Thistle Farms matches $1,200.00 saved by a resident to use for a car or apartment. As $2,400.00 is still a small budget to provide reliable transportation  Providence Auto Group  in Franklin, TN, has partnered with the residential program team to help fill in this gap! 

In June, Thistle Farms and Providence hosted a special event where the cars were 'revealed' to four graduates who participated in the savings program. Nancy (pictured above), Brenda, Lori and Kim (pictured below), all 2016 Magdalene graduates, joined twenty-two previous recipients over the past four years. Each car represents hard work and savings from each woman, matched savings from Thistle Farms as well as a generous gift from Providence Auto.

"I'm so grateful and I love my car," remarks Kim. "I haven't owned a car for 15 years but it wasn't as hard as I thought to save for it. I thought of it as paying a bill and made it a part of my budget." When asked what she enjoys the most about her own car she replies, "Not only can I get back and forth to work, and not rely on anyone else, but I also can be of service to my sisters -- just like others were to me!"    


As Hal Cato, CEO for Thistle Farms, summarizes, “Providence Auto Group understands the feeling of dignity that comes with being able to get in your own car and take care of yourself and your family. Thistle Farms is committed to giving women keys to their economic and personal independence and are incredibly grateful for this partnership."

The Providence Auto team pictured above, with Hal Cato (lower right).

Photos by Peggy Napier.


Marlei Olson
Marlei Olson

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