On Wednesday, country singer Brad Paisley broke ground on the Nashville site where he and wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley plan to open a free grocery store later in 2019.
Dubbed “The Store” and opening in partnership with Paisley’s alma mater Belmont University, the new nonprofit business will serve underprivileged members of the surrounding community in Nashville. The referral-based store will be staffed by student volunteers from Belmont and will operate like any other grocery — complete with checkout line — but no customer will have to pay.
“In Nashville there are 1 in 7 people and 1 in 5 children that have food insecurity,” said Williams-Paisley in a release. “That means they don’t know where they are going to get their next meal. The Store will be another resource to help families and individuals going through a hard time but working toward self-sufficiency.”
“Our goal is to give dignity to parents,” added Paisley. “They can go to The Store and shop in a completely normal way, from choosing the food to checking out, but with no money exchanging hands.
President Barack Obama, at whose inauguration Paisley performed in 2009, offered his praise for The Store. “Here’s a story about people doing good that’s worth sharing: @BradPaisley and his wife @Kimwilliamspais saw food insecurity in Nashville and decided to do something about it,” he wrote.
Here’s a story about people doing good that's worth sharing: @BradPaisley and his wife @Kimwilliamspais saw food insecurity in Nashville and decided to do something about it. They just broke ground on a free grocery store to help families in need: https://t.co/o6pcAApZsm
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 4, 2019
Located on Belmont University’s campus next to the Ministry Center, the 4000 square foot facility is estimated to cost $1.5 million for construction and expected to be open by the end of 2019. To help raise funds, donors who pledge more than $500 will receive a personalized brick — while inventory lasts — that will line the sidewalk in front of the building.