Brad Paisley, wife open free toy store for families in need during the holidays

The aim of country music artist Brad Paisley and his spouse, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, was to enable underprivileged families to select their own food in an environment like a typical grocery shop.

The Store is giving parents shopping for holiday gifts this year the same dignity of choice. 400 families will shop in a free toy store filled with brand-new toys, video games, plush animals, scooters, clothing, cosmetics, and musical instruments over the course of a two-day event that begins on Friday.

The emotional side of giving your child what they truly desired rather than simply something to tide you over for the holidays, according to Paisley, "is such a load off the minds of somebody who maybe didn't think they were going to be able to do that."

Stephanie Brodie, a native of Nashville, registered at The Store while serving as her mother's caregiver. The two of them liked going grocery shopping to buy the goods they required for their meals. Since her mother died away, she has been caring for her five grandkids, four of them are younger than fifteen.

A much-needed help as she's trying to save money to fix a damaged stove this year, Brodie and her granddaughter La'Delegant Hartsfield picked out armloads of toys, musical instruments, beauty items, and clothes for the family on Friday.

In observance of the Paisley family, Brodie, who was dressed in paisley pattern, remarked, "It's a very much dignified process and it gives you the freedom of choice." Therefore, we have a choice in what we teach our kids. Additionally, we get to decide what to cook and serve, which naturally gives you more authority.

Before the free toy store opened on Thursday, the Paisleys were given early access and were awestruck by the abundance of toys, wrapping station, Christmas trees, and festive décor. As they decorated and unpacked all the donated toys, volunteers and employees from Belmont University and The Store worked for hours, all the while enjoying holiday music.

The famous couple introduced the idea of a free food shop to Nashville after witnessing the notion years ago at the Unity Shoppe in Santa Barbara, California. Just a few weeks had passed after a tornado struck the city and before the worldwide pandemic made food access an urgent concern when The Store opened its doors in early 2020.

After making adjustments, the Store and its employees became an elderly food delivery service, serving one million meals in its first year of business. Every year, The Store holds an enrollment procedure. To be eligible, a household's yearly gross income must be 200% or less than the federal poverty threshold. Belmont University, from where Paisley graduated, provides free groceries to low-income families in addition to other programs including financial literacy classes, music therapy, and medication administration.

Williams-Paisley stated, "People come here in difficult times, and we want this to be a safe, welcoming place for everybody, whether you're volunteering or in need of the services." "It's simply a community, and we're all involved."

Whether it was a cooking class or homework assistance, Brodie claimed The Store and Belmont provided her with a bridge to the resources she needed, particularly in light of the rising costs of living in Nashville due to taxes, inflation, and real estate prices.

"I adore Nashville." I do not wish to be ejected. And because of this, I can now afford to stay here for an additional year," Brodie stated.

The store collected $20,000 by accepting around 2,000 donated products, of which about half came from the First Responder's Children's Foundation and the other half from the Nashville region. While the adults buy and have gifts wrapped, parents may drop off their children at the church next door, where they can play and enjoy hot chocolate.

The toy shop is intended to become an annual event, but Williams-Paisley pointed out that The shop would require donations all year round in order to feed its patrons.

"We're still not able to assist everyone that we would like to. The rate of food insecurity is rising. According to a recent USDA estimate, 17 million households nationwide experience food insecurity, and that number is expected to climb starting in 2021, according to Williams-Paisley. We want to do so many things. Furthermore, the toy shop has demonstrated to us that we are capable of continuing, developing, and expanding.

Paisley acknowledges that this is his favorite time of year and even jokes that he would wear a Santa suit to the toy store.

Paisley remarked, "This time of year is my favorite." "I kind of go all out ever since we've had children, and maybe even before."

All rights reserved. Associated Press, 2023. All rights reserved.
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