Thursday, April 25, 2024

Country singer to open free grocery store in Nashville

Country singer Brad Paisley and wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, have announced a non-profit free grocery store, called The Store.

In association with Belmont University, the project in Nashville, Tennessee, will operate as a “free-referral based grocery store”. It will allow people in need to “shop with dignity” for their basic needs. The initial goal is to serve 3,000 people per year.

Inspired by Unity

The Paisleys were inspired by the Unity Shoppe, located in Santa Barbara, where they spend some of their time. After working in the shop, they saw first-hand the impact it had on people, including the volunteers.

“We took our boys to Unity Shoppe to teach them about serving others and giving back to people in need,” Mr Paisley said. “And we came away surprised by what the organisation had taught us. Most people don’t want handouts. They want dignity and respect. Most people want to become self-sufficient.”

Ms Williams-Paisley says they loved seeing parents making choices for their own families – rather than receiving food they might not necessarily want or need.

“We got very excited about bringing the concept of a free grocery store back home to our Nashville community,” she said.

Mr Paisley adds: “We want The Store to be a cheerful, safe place for volunteers as well as for people who are struggling. We want those who are referred to our program to show up and feel dignity.”

‘Brick by brick’

The Store will be located next to the University’s Ministry Center. It will partner with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and others to provide perishable and non-perishable offerings. Non-profit and government agencies will refer individuals and families for a term of one year.

A ‘brick-by-brick campaign’ will raise funds for construction of the storefront. It will also establish enough funding to meet the proposed operational needs for food. The goal is to have US$500,000 ($705,000) before ground-breaking (projected for 2019) with a total construction target of US$1.2 million ($1.7 million).

The Paisleys announced last week that they will donate an initial gift to kick off the capital campaign.

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