Brad and Kimberly Williams-Paisley Opening Free Grocery Store for Nashville’s Needy
Brad Paisley and wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley are making big moves to help Nashville's needy. The couple is working with Belmont University to open a free grocery store in Music City, which will be open to those in need.
The Tennessean reports that the new grocery store, dubbed the Store, will offer both fresh foods and non-perishable items to people in need for up to one year -- a “temporary Band-Aid on the road to self-sufficiency,” according to Williams-Paisley. The Store will be located at 2005 12th Ave. South, and will partner with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and other local organizations; customers will need to be referred by a non-profit organization or government agency.
“This is a grocery store with dignity for people who have fallen on hard times,” says Paisley, who is president of the Store’s board of trustees. “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.”
The idea for the Store was inspired by a day of volunteering Paisley, Williams-Paisley and their children did at Santa Barbara, Calif.'s Unity Shoppe. The parents felt their two sons needed a reminder of how grateful they should be, so they used the day to show them that there are other people less fortunate than they are.
“It was inspiring because these people have dignity ... These people are able to sit there and feel very, very normal in the eyes of their kids," Paisley remembers of seeing the Unity Shoppe. "I remember … thinking, ‘Why isn’t this everywhere?’ Essentially, we got this idea that it could be a very effective thing in Nashville.”
The Store hopes to serve 3,000 people per year. In addition to groceries, it will offer a holiday-time toy aisle, on-the-job training and other services.
“So many people are making great choices in their lives,” Williams-Paisley says. “It’s not like they’ve made major mistakes, they just need a little extra help and we want to be a resource for those people.”
Construction on the Store is expected to begin in 2019. The organization is currently running a campaign to raise the money to build the store and help with operation. Readers can visit TheStore.org to donate.
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