The Store, a free referral-based grocery store co-founded by Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley in the Nashville area, has brought on Collen Mayer as CEO.
Mayer brings years of leadership experience in the non-profit space having worked with Safe Haven Family Shelter, Catholic Charities of Tennessee and United Way of Central Alabama.
“We are excited to have Collen join our team and lead our efforts to combat food insecurity in Nashville,” says John Schario, Board Chair for The Store. “Collen has a history of serving the Nashville community and we could not be prouder to have him part of our mission.”
In 2020, the Paisley’s partnered with Belmont University to spearhead The Store. Individuals and families in need are 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.
“I am excited to be leading The Store at such an important time in its growth,” says Mayer. “Nothing is more urgent in Nashville right now than ensuring that all of our neighbors have enough food to eat. The Store’s unique grocery store model ensures that people are able to choose the kinds of healthy, nutritious food that we all want to feed our families. The Store upholds the dignity of everyone who walks through our doors to receive food, and the agency connects caring volunteers to customers seeking healthy food.”
A philosophy of community empowerment means The Store aims to solve hunger issues in its community by developing programs to meet the needs of the community, including partnering with other organizations on issues of food security. The Store believes in cooperation and collaboration between organizations to better serve the population. With the support of additional programs at the Family Wellness Program at the Belmont Ministry Center, families can engage in therapy, counseling, cooking classes and several other services.
“Our work at The Store is just getting started,” Mayer continues. “Nashville is thriving right now but not everyone is benefiting from the city’s growth. It is morally unacceptable that in such a great city as Nashville, 1 in 7 people are still food insecure. The Store and its partners will not stop until every person in Nashville has access to the healthy food they want and need.”
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