Unique Partnership Between Tionesta Lions Club & Giant Eagle Provides Grocery Delivery to Area Residents
TIONESTA, Pa. (EYT) – A desert is not something that comes to mind when you think of the lush hillsides of Tionesta. However, the area was left a food desert when its last grocery store closed in October of 2018.
Residents were left with a half-hour drive to the closest grocery store. Although the journey wasn’t impossible, it certainly wasn’t convenient.
Since July of 2019, Giant Eagle has been working with the Tionesta Lions Club on a pilot program to deliver groceries twice a week to the town’s residents. Currently, there is no charge for the delivery service.
Giant Eagle Spokeswoman, Jannah Jablonowski, said the Tionesta delivery program is currently one of a kind. However, it is a model that could be expanded to other communities in the future.
“We figured this was a really great opportunity to not only enrich the Tionesta community but also to try out this unique model,” Jablonowski told exploreClarion.com.
Tionesta residents are directed toward a unique website, www.gianteagle/tionesta. Once an account is created, a resident is ready to start shopping.
Those who use the delivery service need to be able to process payment online through a credit card, PayPal, or Masterpass. All groceries must be paid for before they are delivered.
The program does not currently support the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. Jablonowski said they are working on a process that could allow for such programs in the future.
Prices for those who do their shopping in the virtual store are the same as those who use the brick and mortar option.
Tionesta Lions Club partnered with Giant Eagle to make the delivery possible.
“In the beginning, while the project was being conceptualized, it was believed that a local volunteer community service organization would be critical to the success of the program,” Tionesta Lions Club member Farley Wright explained.
Such a partnership allowed for the identification of possible distribution locations and added a local face to the project. Since Lions Club members volunteer, it helps Giant Eagle to offer the delivery at no extra cost.
Tionesta’s virtual shoppers can get fresh produce, meats, and even frozen items, such as ice cream, delivered.
“Giant Eagle uses two types of totes – dry and insulated – as well as ice packs and dry ice to ensure that all food is held at the appropriate food-safe temperatures. The totes are randomly spot-checked for temperature confirmation once they arrive in Tionesta,” Wright said.
All perishable items have been safely delivered so far, according to Wright.
Items such as cigarettes or alcohol, which require a shopper to be a certain age to purchase, cannot be delivered.
Prescriptions are also not deliverable.
Currently, the program has 50 unique users. Its size is limited only by the number of tote containers that can be loaded into the Giant Eagle van.
“Not every household orders every week or every delivery day. We average deliveries to about 15 households per week,” Jablonowski said.
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