Country music star Brad Paisley and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, have made a significant impact this holiday season by opening a free toy store for families in need, called The Toy Store.
In Nashville, Tennessee, the generous initiative is an extension of their earlier philanthropic effort, The Store, a free referral-based grocery store they launched in partnership with Belmont University in March 2020.
The Toy Store was designed to offer parents the dignity of choosing gifts for their children in a normal shopping environment. During a special two-day event, 400 families had the opportunity to select from a variety of items, including 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 remarked.
The endeavor not only provided physical gifts but also aimed to ease the emotional burden on parents struggling to provide for their children during the festive season. “I live for this time of year,” Paisley said. “Ever since we’ve had children and possibly even before, I kind of go all out.”
“Seeing it happen was magical,” he said in an Instagram video. “The look on the faces of these kids was worth every bit of effort. Thanks to all who helped make this happen. Hopefully just the start!”
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Paisley has become one of the genre’s most respected and popular artists. He is known for his distinctive style of country music, which often blends traditional country with Southern rock and humorous lyrical themes.
Apart from his music career, Paisley is also known for his skilled guitar playing and has won numerous awards, including Grammy Awards, Country Music Association Awards, and Academy of Country Music Awards. In addition to his music career, Paisley has also made appearances on television and has been involved in various charitable works, particularly those supporting education and disaster relief.
The Store, including its holiday-specific Toy Store initiative, operates under the principle of offering support without judgment, allowing people to shop for their basic needs in times of crisis while working towards self-sufficiency.
The Paisleys were inspired by their visit to the Unity Shoppe in Santa Barbara, California, and aimed to replicate its model of supporting the community with dignity and respect. Since its inception, The Store has adapted to various challenges, including turning into a food delivery service for older people during the pandemic and delivering a million meals in its first year.
“People come on hard times and we want this to be a safe, welcoming place for everybody, whether you’re volunteering or whether you’re needing the services,” his wife explained. “It’s just a community and we’re all in it together.”