NASHVILLE (CelebrityAccess) — Country artist Brad Paisley and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, have teamed up with Belmont University to launch The Store, an updated version of a food pantry aimed at helping those in need.
Located at 2005 12th Ave. The Store will partner with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and other organizations to stock both fresh and non-perishable food for individuals and families for a year.
However, unlike a traditional food pantry, The Store will look and operate like a traditional grocery store but will be free to its customers.
According to the Nashville Tennessean, customers will be referred to The Store government agencies and non-profit organizations. The initial goal of The Store will be to serve as a source of food for 3,000 people in its first year.
According to The Store, food will come through donations, as well as via deeply discounted purchases from Second Harvest Food Bank and other sources.
In addition to groceries, The Store will also provide seasonal assistance, such as a toy aisle during the holidays.
The Paisleys were inspired to launch the store after their son volunteered at Unity Shoppe in Santa Barbara, California, which operates in a similar fashion.
“It was inspiring because these people have dignity,” Brad Paisley told the Tennessean. “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.”
Brick By Brick, a campaign to raise funds for the construction of the storefront and to provide startup and operational funding is underway. About $500,000 is needed before groundbreaking, with a total estimated build cost of $1.2 million.
The Tennessean reported that the Paisleys are kicking the campaign off with an initial gift, but donations are being accepted at http://www.thestore.org