In Pictures: Thistle Farms Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Pictured (L-R): Hal Cato, CEO, Thistle Farms; Amanda Shires; Shemekia Copeland; Becca Stevens, Founder, Thistle Farms; Reba McEntire; John Prine and Jason Isbell. Photo: Rick Diamond

Pictured (L-R): Reba McEntire and John Prine. Photo: Rick Diamond

Pictured (L-R): Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell. Photo: Rick Diamond

Reba McEntire, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Shemekia Copeland and special guest John Prine descended on the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville Wednesday night (May 3) for a fundraising event, Love Letters At The Ryman, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Thistle Farms. The evening featured rousing collaborations between the all-star lineup, punctuated by the inspirational testimonials of the women of Thistle Farms, survivors of addiction, prostitution and trafficking.

The event also saw Founder & President Becca Stevens and CEO Hal Cato share their belief that “Love Heals” and their personal experiences that led them to the achievements of Thistle Farms today. Reba brought the evening to a close, embracing the community warmth of the organization and inviting all of the previous performers from the night to the stage for a crowd singalong of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”

Photo: Rick Diamond

The City of Nashville also honored the occasion by lighting up major landmarks across town in purple, as a nod to Thistle Farms’ signature color. Ascend Amphitheater, Bridgestone Arena, Gateway Bridge, Hotel Indigo, Nashville Courthouse, Omni Hotel and The Parthenon all joined in on the festivities.

Pictured (L-R): Carolyn Snell, Associate Manager to Reba McEntire; Rita Childs; Hal Cato; Angel, Rachel; Becca Stevens; Reba McEntire; Regina Mullins and Sheila McClain. Photo: Rick Diamond

Thistle Farms’ mission is to heal, empower and employ women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. This is done by providing safe and supportive housing, the opportunity for economic independence, and a strong community of advocates and partners. Founded by “2016 CNN Hero” Becca Stevens in 1997 under the name Magdalene, it now employs 50 local survivors and supports over 1,500 women through global partners and a national network of sister organizations.

For more information on Thistle Farms, visit


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