Brad Paisley has broken ground on a new free grocery store in Nashville and he did it while wearing a cowboy hat-shaped construction helmet, naturally. The supermarket will be located at Paisley’s alma mater, Belmont University and will be called “The Store.”
The singer and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, felt inspired to open the nonprofit grocery store after volunteering at one like it in California. "We took our boys to Unity Shoppe to teach them about serving others and giving back to people in need. 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." The goal of The Store is to serve 3,000 folks in need in the Nashville area every year and it will have free donated food along with deeply discounted food from the Second Harvest Food Bank, and offer other services including job training and cooking and nutrition classes.
"As you can imagine where you place this store is important and right at this age of where gentrification is happening," Paisley explained at the ground-breaking ceremony. "There's people being squeezed out a little bit in this area. It's just the perfect place. You can read statistics on hunger or you can read everything about this subject and never necessarily have it hit you in the heart like watching someone walk through this service — which is hopefully what's going to happen as a student is volunteering here."