EAST BRUNSWICK — There's a new type of reserved parking at one Stop & Shop store: a row of spaces up front for veterans.

The East Brunswick store on Route 18, which opened on Veterans Day in 2011 (11/11/11), dedicated the spaces on Thursday ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.

The effort was led by Barbara Rebele, the store's customer service manager who has involved the store and its workers with the VFW Post 133 over the years.

"It's something we've wanted for some time. It's just a small way of recognizing the service and saying thank you to the veterans to have a spot up front for veterans that might have a hard time getting into the store who need that access from the front parking spot," Rebele said.

The store also helped kick off the VFW post's poppy drive and will be selling them all weekend.

Military service runs deep in Rebele's family as her brother, father, step-son and son-in-law are all veterans. The VFW seemed like the right organization for her to get the store involved with and build a relationship with over the years.

The store is involved with the organization's 5K race every July, a golf outing every August, and a food drive at Thanksgiving and at Christmas to support veterans through the Woodbridge food bank.

Store employees willingly help out with the events.

Rebele said that the Stop & Shop company has been supportive of the store's programs.

"It's a team effort," Rebele said. "I couldn't do this without the company."

Sign indicating parking space for veterans at Stop & Shop in East Brunswick (Stop & Shop)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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