When it comes to grocery shopping, Ashton Bianchi has quickly become a pro.
A 2016 Clearview High School graduate, he knows where to find the juice and milk, frozen waffles and paper towels. Romaine lettuce and gala apples? No problem.
A senior at Manhattan College with a dual major in finance and economics, Bianchi is following in the footsteps of a baseball teammate in a quest to help those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
For those who can’t get to the grocery store, the Mullica Hill resident created Smart Shop South Jersey.
In baseball terms, he’s become a designated shopper. Provide your list and Bianchi will take care of the rest.
“A teammate of mine started Smart Shop Long Island and it’s spread to the surrounding counties of New York City, North Jersey and Central Jersey,” Bianchi said. “I just followed in their footsteps and started Smart Shop South Jersey.
“I’ve heard from elderly couples who can’t go out because of health conditions, from families saying online grocery orders are backed up for weeks. I decided to help fill the need. We’re reaching households and helping a lot of people.”
The operation started last week, with Bianchi delivering approximately three orders a day. He’s handled most deliveries by himself, with friend and former Clearview teammate Tim Dezzi helping out when needed.
Delivers have been made to residents in Gloucester, Salem and Camden counties. There is a fee for the service.
“The numbers have pretty much gone up every day,” Bianchi said. “They send the grocery list and we do the shopping for them. We then drop it off at their front door.
“Obviously with everything going on in the world, who knows when it’s going to end or if it’s going to come back. This could be the new normal. I’m fully prepared to take on this for the long haul and help people for as long as they need it. I’m prepared for whatever happens going forward.”
Bianchi started to get the word out through Instagram. He created a Facebook page and joined various Facebook groups to let as many people know about the service as possible. He can also be reached by email at email@example.com.
The reaction in just one week?
“They’ve been grateful and a lot are just thankful. Some haven’t been able to get groceries for a while,” he said. “An elderly couple was pretty emotional. The woman had a lung condition and the husband just couldn’t go out. That’s why we’re doing what we do.
“There’s always a risk that comes with it, but I’m taking all safety precautions. I’ve got sanitizer, masks, disinfectants. I spray things down when I put them in the car. There’s a little worry, but I’m taking every measure in the book right now to minimize the risk and the risk of others as well.”
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