Brad Paisley and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, partnered with Belmont University to open The Store, a free grocery store in Nashville. The Store, located at 2005 12th Ave. South, is a food pantry modeled as a grocery store and officially opened its doors on March 14.
"It's easy to feel lost right now. It turns out, our little charity endeavor @thestore_nashville has fortuitous timing," Brad Paisley wrote on Instagram. "Due to the work of many dedicated volunteers, partners and donors, The Store has been able to open earlier than anticipated. We can now serve the needs of the community beyond the initial scope of our original mission."
In the video shared on social media, Kimberly Williams-Paisley says "we're offering aid to the families affected by the recent tornado in Nashville and also the Coronavirus outbreak."
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It’s easy to feel lost right now. It turns out, our little charity endeavor @thestore_nashville has fortuitous timing. Due to the work of many dedicated volunteers, partners and donors, The Store has been able to open earlier than anticipated. We can now serve the needs of the community beyond the initial scope of our original mission. In conjunction with our referral partners, those affected by the recent tornados and and coronavirus outbreak can receive aid for the road to recovery. The Store will be open tomorrow, Saturday from 11:00 to 5:00pm. To volunteer your services or resources visit Thestore.org –
Paisley also share that The Store will also be delivering a week's worth of groceries to elderly Nashville neighbors in Edgehill and Berry Hill. Nashville residents who need to be included on this list can contact [email protected]
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So, in light of changing times, @thestore_nashville is mobilizing delivery of a week’s groceries to our elderly neighbors in Edgehill and Berry Hill on Wednesday’s/Thursdays. If anyone needs to be included on this list, we urge them to contact [email protected] Also We will continue to operate regular hours 1-7 Th/F 11-5 Sat for walk ins but please bring ID and either proof of income, proof of residence, or statement of unemployment for our recently unemployed neighbors. #nashvillestrong
Paisley, the president of The Store's board of trustees, told The Tennessean that the purpose of the grocery store is to help those who've fallen on difficult times by treating them with kindness and dignity.
"This is a grocery store with dignity for people who have fallen on hard times," Paisley told The Tennessean. "All of us are one unforeseen disaster away from rock bottom. It's nice to think about a place where when that happens to someone, they can use it to get back on their feet."
Partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, The Store offers fresh and non-perishable foods to those in need for one year. Non-profit organizations and government agencies will refer customers to The Store.
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Paisley told The Tennessean that the couple got the idea for The Store after taking their kids to volunteer at Unity Shoppe in Santa Barbara, California around Thanksgiving. The Unity Shoppe offers free groceries, free school clothing and supplies, job training and other essentials.
"It was inspiring because these people have dignity," the country music singer said. "It's not a scene from 'Oliver Twist.' These people are able to sit there and feel very, very normal in the eyes of their kids. I remember ... thinking, 'Why isn't this everywhere?' Essentially, we got this idea that it could be a very effective thing in Nashville."
During the holiday season, The Store will have a free toy aisle. The non-profit will accept donations for new, unopened toys.
The couple received a $1.5 million 2Gen Family Wellbeing grant for The Store from the Department of Human Services.
"Through the work of our Ministry Center and our partnership with Brad and Kimberly on The Store, Belmont is deeply committed to providing services to underserved children and families in our community, and this 2Gen grant from the Tennessee Department of Human Services will significantly enhance the scope and delivery of the services we offer," Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said. "We are grateful for their belief in our work, and I'm excited to witness how this grant expands the impact our students, faculty and staff can have on our neighbors."
The organization will also provide on-the-job training.
This article was originally published in 2018. It has since been updated to reflect the opening of The Store.