A Flushing pharmacy is doing its part to protect the elderly and other vulnerable individuals during the coronavirus crisis by offering shopping services for those within the community.
OnPoint Family Center — located at 25-39 Parsons Blvd. — rolled out its “Shop Sixty” initiative, where customers 60 and older and those who are immunocompromised can submit their shopping lists and have items delivered to their homes.
According to Amy Ho, the supervising pharmacist and one of the store’s managing partners, she noticed a lot of elderly customers from 70 to 90 years old were still coming into the store to shop.
As a solution to this problem and to promote more social distancing, OnPoint implemented the shopping and delivery service on March 20. From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., customers can submit their grocery lists via phone, fax or computer, after which a staff member will gather the items on the list and deliver the items on the same day or the day after.
Family members can also order products and medication on behalf of their loved ones.
“Right now our [in store] hours are still normal but they may be adjusted based on the need. I want to be able to keep the store open long enough to service the people but at the same time I don’t want to keep it too long that it puts my staff [at] extra exposure,” Ho said.
To limit exposure even further, Ho said that her staff will ring customer’s bells and drop off their orders at the door or lobby if they live in an apartment building. For customers who may be disabled she said that the pharmacy staff will “play it by ear” and make special arrangements in those situations.
Ho said that she understands people’s situations will vary, so she said she’s willing to make exceptions to accommodate certain customer’s while still trying to maintain optimal safety.
“We’ll make exceptions. It’s a community so we make a lot of exceptions for people,” she said. “We’re going to encourage everyone to use a credit card because handling money is extra exposure. But there are going to be some people that don’t have a credit card and they’re going to want to utilize the services. So we’ll make those exceptions for people who need it.”
She added that deliveries will be based on the area’s needs and if she finds that the surrounding community is requesting the services most, the delivery distance will be more limited. But if a customer lives further away but is in need of delivery services, OnPoint will try and make these exceptions as well.
The store is not checking IDs or asking for proof of age, but expects people to be honest in order to let the staff focus on helping the most vulnerable populations. OnPoint is not charging a delivery fee but is requesting customers spend a minimum of about $30.
Due to the circumstances, Ho said that there are shortages on items like toilet paper, hand sanitizer and surgical masks but they are getting these items in small weekly shipments from their vendors. She has also enforced a limit on things like Tylenol as it’s a necessary medication for those running a fever.
“We’ll do our best to keep everything in stock and deliver whatever they need but it’s whatever we have available at the time,” said Ho. “We would [look at] their shopping list and check off the items that we have and everything we don’t have would not be included in the package. We’re trying our best everyday to try to keep things in stock but with what’s going on right now, it’s just hard. A lot of the vendors are not sending the quantities that we’re asking for.”
OnPoint Family Center is located at 25-39 Parsons Blvd. To make an order, call 718-762-8862, fax 718-762-8130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.