There are far too many families in the United States struggling to put food on the table. And when it comes to putting healthy food on the table, well, that’s even harder. Processed and packaged foods often have a lower price tag than fresh produce, which makes healthy eating and affordable eating seem like mutually exclusive concepts. That’s why this free “grocery store” all the more amazing.
According to the National Institute of Health, high prices can prevent people shopping on a budget from being able to choose healthy, fresh items for themselves and their families. Starches, sugars, and fats are cheaper than proteins, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables – so even if you prefer a healthy diet, a tight budget can send a family’s health into a negative spiral.
Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley have partnered with Belmont University (Brad’s alma mater) and opened a food bank designed like a grocery store. It’s called simply “The Store” and, unlike most food banks, offers both fresh produce and non-perishable groceries for people in need.
The Store will also set up a toy aisle during the holidays and provide on-the-job training year round.
Paisley explains the concept to the Tennessean like this:
“This is a grocery store with dignity for people who have fallen on hard times. 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.”
To that end, people will be allowed access to The Store’s services for a one-year period.
Their inspiration came after the Paisleys visited a similar installation in California called The Unity Shoppe. Brad remembers thinking, ‘Why isn’t this everywhere?’
Now, there’s one open in Nashville, the place they both call home, and the couple are hoping The Store will be able to help people in need get back on their feet, and stay healthy and fed in the process.