Country singer Brad Paisley and his actress wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley are teaming up with officials at Belmont University to open a free grocery store in Tennessee.
The Store will be set up as a modern food pantry in Nashville and the Whiskey Lullaby hitmaker will serve as president of the venture’s board of trustees.
“This is a grocery store with dignity for people who have fallen on hard times,” Brad says. “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.”
Paisley explains he and his wife were inspired to open The Store after volunteering at the Unity Shoppe in Santa Barbara, California with their Children for America’s Thanksgiving holiday.
“It was inspiring because these people have dignity,” Brad continues. “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.”
“So many people are making great choices in their lives,” Kimberly adds. “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.”
In addition to food, The Store will also feature a toy aisle ahead of the Christmas holiday and bosses will provide on-the-job training for the store’s patrons.