The Store, a free-referral-based grocery store co-founded by Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley in the Nashville area, will debut a Toy Store this holiday season for the 400 children of the families they are currently serving. The donation drive has launched and contributions can be made in three ways: Amazon Wish List, financial donation or corporations may contribute financially or hold their own toy drive for donations.
The four-week donation campaign will run through December 1 and families will shop The Store to choose the toys for their children (ages 0 up to age 17) on December 8 & 9.
“We’ve always wanted to see a Toy Store pop-up around the holidays that has the same framework and model as our grocery store, so that our customers can also shop for gifts for their families with dignity and choice,” shared the Paisley’s. “We are really excited to see it come together this year, and credit our wonderful staff, amazing volunteers, and energetic new CEO Collen Mayer for making it happen!”
“The Toy Store is going to be one of the most memorable and heart-warming events in our community this holiday season,” said Collen. “Just as The Store allows families in poverty to shop for food with dignity twelve months out of the year, the Toy Store will enable these same mothers and fathers to find the perfect gifts for their son or daughter. For anyone who is looking to support a family during the holiday season, the Toy Store is a perfect option to spread some holiday cheer and kindness and to lift up families in need in a dignified way. To get involved, you can sign up to volunteer at the Toy Store, purchase gifts from our Amazon registry, and share information about this event with your friends, families, and workplaces.”
In 2020, the Paisleys partnered with Belmont University to spearhead The Store, a year-round free grocery store allowing people to shop with dignity for their basic needs. Individuals and families will be referred by nonprofit and government agencies for a term of one year. There is no charge to those referred or to the people and agencies that send them. They may shop for food to supplement their income during times of crisis and as they work toward self-sufficiency.
Because wellness is about more than just addressing food concerns, the wrap around services at the Belmont Ministry Center next to The Store provide additional family support, including counseling, music therapy, financial literacy, medicine management, and cooking classes. The Store believes in cooperation and collaboration between organizations to better serve the population.
The Store opened for in-store individuals and families on March 12, 2020, following the March 3 tornado that devastated parts of Nashville. The Store was open for only four days when the COVID-19 pandemic became widespread, and it was obvious in-store shopping was not going to be feasible. A new plan was needed, and staff, partners and volunteers all worked diligently to reach people in need as they were sheltered at home. A home delivery system for the elderly was immediately put in place and curbside pick-up was implemented. By the time the COVID relief model had concluded, The Store had served over 1.5 million meals. In July 2021, The Store reopened to in-store shopping.
The Store is now serving over 350 families each month. For more information on The Store go to www.thestore.org.