Nashville's 'FreeStore' helps keep the community free from want

Posted at 6:40 AM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-10 17:15:24-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Holiday shopping may be over but, for some Nashvillians, the struggle to shop is year 'round. Now, there's one store where everything is - free.

"We are a program of Edgehill Neighborhood Partnership which is a nonprofit," said Pat Elkins with The FreeStore.

Instead of price tags, you see dots, indicating how many items you can take.

"We have the signs up so people can remember how many things they can get in their shopping basket," she said.

Elkins has been running The FreeStore for the past eight years.

"We're open twice a month, [Saturdays] from 9 to 11," she said.

The store helps families in the area stock-up on food and household goods, even toys for the kids.

Elkins says like so many areas in Nashville, the distance between the "haves" and the "have nots" is growing wider.

"There's not a grocery store here in this area so people are coming for the food as well as an opportunity to do some shopping for their household goods," she said.

Debby Burrus says she's lived in Nashville since the 1980's and sees the neighborhood changing.

"Gentrification is a mixed blessing," said Burrus.

A former nurse, Burrus is now retired and deals with disabilities. She says she's not only a shopper she also volunteers at the store.

Together, they hope to keep the community free from want.