This year, The Store is offering that same dignity of choice to parents looking for gifts for the holiday season. During a two-day event starting Friday, selected families will shop at a free toy store, stocked with brand new toys, video games, stuffed animals, scooters, clothes, makeup and musical instruments.
“The emotional aspect of being able to give your child something your child wanted versus just something to sort of get you through the holidays, that’s such a load off the minds of somebody who maybe didn’t think they were going to be able to do that,” Paisley said.
The Paisleys got a sneak peak on Thursday before the free toy store opened, marveling over the stacks of gifts, wrapping station, Christmas trees and holiday decorations. Volunteers and staff from Belmont University and The Store spent hours unpacking and organizing all the donated toys into sections and decorating while listening to Christmas music.
The celebrity couple brought the idea of a free grocery store to Nashville after seeing the concept years ago at the Unity Shoppe in Santa Barbara, California. When The Store launched in early 2020, it was just weeks after a tornado hit the city and before the global pandemic made food access an immediate problem.