Volunteers holding spots in line for elderly, disabled at Edgewood Walmart

Coronavirus New Mexico

EDGEWOOD, N.M. (KRQE) – A group in the East Mountains is giving back to their fellow neighbors — by simply holding their place in line. Volunteers are braving the early morning temperatures and lines to hold spots for those who shouldn’t be waiting.

With temperatures getting colder and lines getting longer, getting inside the grocery store isn’t always an easy feat, especially for those like the elderly, disabled, and single parents. It’s the reason one group is now volunteering to brave the wait for others.

“With what’s going on with the lines and the situation with the grocery stores, in the morning time, it’s just too cold,” said Amanda Henry, a volunteer spot-holder. “We developed a system where we can save their spot in line and they can sit in their car or someplace warm where it’s a little more comfortable until that spot comes up and then we just swap their spot.”

Every Saturday morning, volunteers are holding spots in line at the Walmart in Edgewood, free of charge. The group started on social media but has spread mostly by word-of-mouth. With some volunteer opportunities hard to come by with public health restrictions, organizers say this is a simple way to give back to your neighbors.

“I think we should always be doing something for one another. But this is probably the absolute easiest opportunity to do community service,” said Tracey Master, another volunteer spot-holder. “You can’t get much easier than standing there in somebody’s place in line and holding a stick and just waiting until it’s time for them to go in the store. The people have been very, very appreciative.”

This week’s line saver program will go from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19. Volunteers are encouraged to be there around 7:45 a.m. If the lines continue, some volunteers say they can stay around longer as needed. They hope the program catches on in other communities around New Mexico.

“Our attention was drawn to some groups in other areas where people were charging $20, $30, $50 to stand in line for someone, and I get it, people are hurting, money-wise, but that’s not what this is about,” said Master, who emphasized this program is completely free. “We are a very tight-knit community and we work well with one another.”

The volunteer group is also hoping to work something out with teen court to provide volunteer hours through the line spot saver program. The group also just got approval to send volunteer line-holders to the Smith’s in Edgewood, but so far, they haven’t seen big lines there.

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