Brad Paisley and his wife have teamed with Belmont University to open a groundbreaking new free grocery store in Nashville.

The space is called the Store, and it was inspired by a Thanksgiving season they spent in California with their young sons, when Kimberly Williams-Paisley thought were acting spoiled. She decided to teach them by example by having the entire family volunteer at the Unity Shoppe in Santa Barbara, which provides groceries to people in need. They came away convinced that a similar idea would be beneficial in Nashville, and Paisley — who is the president of the Store's board of trustees — says part of what separates the Store from a typical food bank is the atmosphere.

"This is a grocery store with dignity for people who have fallen on hard times,” the singer tells Nashville's Tennessean newspaper. “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.”

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The Store is partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and others to give fresh and nonperishable groceries to people and families in need for the period of a year. Nonprofits and government agencies will refer customers to the Store, which is intended as a “temporary Band-Aid on the road to self-sufficiency,” Williams-Paisley states.

“So many people are making great choices in their lives" she tells the Tennessean. "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.”

The Store will also set up a toy aisle over the holidays, and it will accept donations of new, unopened toys year-round. Families will be allowed to select from those items to provide Christmas for their children. The Store will also provide on-the-job training, and because of its partnership with Belmont, which is set to pilot healthcare and legal aid ministry clinics, people in need will be able to receive a wide range of vital services.

The Store is expected to break ground in 2019 at 2005 12th Ave. S., next to Belmont University’s Ministry Center in Nashville. It's projected to require about $500,000 before starting, and total construction is slated to cost $1.2 million. The Paisleys are donating an initial gift to kick off the fundraising, and the Store is raising funds through the Brick by Brick Campaign. For more details or to donate, visit the Store's website.

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