Famed country singer Brad Paisley and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley have collaborated with Belmont University to set up a free grocery store to serve those in need.
“The Store” can be found at 2005 12th Ave. S. next to Belmont University’s Ministry Center, and is being run in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and other organizations to ensure the provision of both fresh and long-life groceries. The store will provide families with everything they need for a whole year as they plan to get back on track.
“This is a grocery store with dignity for people who have fallen on hard times,” said Paisley, president of The Store’s board of trustees, as reported by the Tennesseean. “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 initiative hopes to provide food for some 3,000 people per year, functioning on a referral basis through non-profit’s and government agencies. “It’s that Billy Hill song, ‘There’s Too Much Month at the End of the Money,'” said Pete Fisher, co-chair of The Store and CEO of the Academy of Country Music. “A lot of times when people fall on tough times, they don’t need a lifeline for a lifetime, they just need a bridge and the store affords those families a dignified way to cross that bridge and achieve that self-sufficiency.”
The idea behind this incredible work of compassion was birthed out of real-life experience. As the Paisley prepared for thanksgiving one year, Kimberly noticed that her kids were acting spoiled and overly-entitled when it came to the gifts they desired. So, to help them gain some perspective, the couple marched their boys down to the Unity Shoppe in Santa Barbara, California, and asked if they could help out. It turned out to be a profound experience for the entire family.
“We took our boys to Unity Shoppe to teach them about serving others and giving back to people in need,” Paisley said at The Store’s website. “And we came away surprised by what the organization had taught us. Most people don’t want handouts. They want dignity and respect. Most people want to become self-sufficient.”
View this post on Instagram
We are so excited to tell Nashville about our passion project. Follow @thestore_nashville and see link in profile ?? #Repost @thestore_nashville ・・・ Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley Announce “The Store” A Non-Profit Free Grocery Store for Individuals and Families Seeking Self-Sufficiency
“It was inspiring because these people have dignity,” the musician added. “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.”
Kimberly noted that The Store was not designed to be a service which is relied upon on a permanent basis. Instead, she said, it is designed to be a “temporary Band-Aid on the road to self-sufficiency.”
“So many people are making great choices in their lives,” the actress explained. “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.”
View this post on Instagram
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is an old English proverb-that means eating nutritious foods will make you healthier. The Store will offer healthy food choices to individuals and families? #thestore #giveback #apples #kimberlywilliamspaisley #bradpaisley #charity #thankyou #families #food #selfsufficient #dignity #community #empowerment
But they aren’t stopping there. The couple also noted that the project will provide on-the-job training, along with Healthcare and Legal Aid Ministry Clinics which will be run in partnership with Belmont University. All of these services will combine to achieve a central goal of simply helping families who are in need.
“At Belmont, we believe that the greatest privilege that anyone can ever have is to be in a position to help and serve another person,” Belmont University President Dr. Bob Fisher said.
“Brad and Kim are living out that mission in an extraordinary fashion in every aspect of their lives, particularly through the creation of The Store. We are proud to partner with them on this initiative, and I’m excited to watch as our current students pour their gifts and abilities into supporting the needs of The Store’s patrons.”
You can donate to The Store by visiting its website here.
(H/T: The Tennesseean)