Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley and country music star Brad Paisley‘s free grocery store project, “The Store,” has landed a $1.5 million grant from the state of Tennessee! As announced by Belmont University, the funds come from the Department of Human Services ans will also support the campus’ Belmont Ministry Center.
The Store construction began in April and it is expected to open in early 2020. The grant will help The Store and Belmont Ministry Center provide low-income families with food, nutritional and pharmacy education, health screenings, legal aid clinics, mental health counseling, as well as music therapy.
The Store is located next to Belmont University’s Ministry Center (at 2005 12th Ave. South) and is easily accessed by public transportation. College students will also be able to volunteer as store employees.
“I’m so excited to be here and see this dream come to fruition. In Nashville, there are 1 in 7 people and 1 in 5 children that have food insecurity,” Kimberly shared while breaking ground on the project. “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. 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,” Brad added. “The kids can even ride a mechanical pony out in front of the Store — no charge. Kids do not need the stress of wondering how their parents are going to feed them. In Nashville, we have the power of the benevolence of the residents to support the Store.”
The location will stock free donated food as well as deeply discounted food from the Second Harvest Food Bank along with help from other organizations. Personal care products will also be sourced locally and will be provided by Nashville’s Thistle Farms.