DePietros Pharmacy recenrtly contributed $10,000 to Heart of Scranton Virtual Fundraiser. Shown from left are: Karissa Hausman, Michele Pusateri, JJ Gaughan, Kaitlyn McAfee, LeaAnn Spitz and Tom DePietro.
DePietro’s Pharmacy recently contributed $10,000 to the Heart of Scranton: A Virtual Fundraiser to Help our Neighbors.
The fundraiser, led byScranton’s Mayor Paige Cognetti in partnership with the NEPA COVID-19 Response Fund at the Scranton Area Community Foundation, started on Thursday, April 30 at 12pm. This fundraiser focuses on food insecurity and will benefit CEO/Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank, Friends of the Poor and Meals on Wheels of NEPA. Generous community partners will match funds totaling $100,000.
Tom DePietro, owner of DePietro’s Pharmacy stated, “Our commitment to the community extends well beyond the pharmacy counter. In the wake of the current pandemic, food insecurity is a growing challenge for so many families here in NEPA. Contributing to this fundraiser was an impactful way for DePietro’s Pharmacy to pitch in and help right now. Our team is actively encouraging our families, friends and customers to contribute as well if they are able.”
“This is an incredibly generous donation which will have an extraordinary impact on food insecurity in our communities, and in combination with the match provided through this fundraiser, will generate $20,000 in philanthropic support for this very important cause,” added Laura Ducceschi, Scranton Area Community Foundation’s President and CEO.
Donations will be accepted by check made payable to the Scranton Area Foundation indicating “Heart of Scranton” in the memo and mailed to the Scranton Area Community Foundation, 615 Jefferson Ave., Suite 102, Scranton, PA 18510. Donations will be accepted online at safdn.org/heart-of-scranton until 7pm on Friday, May 1.
When the going gets rough, the tough get going. Take the Dunmore football program, for instance.
Tom DePietro, with the Coronavirus emerging in Lackawanna County and with a shutdown in place, knew he could not let customers walk into his Dunmore pharmacy.
But there was still a job to do. He still needed to get his customers needed supplies and medicines during a national pandemic.
So he called Dunmore Bucks football coach Kevin McHale to see if any of his players could help.
Well, within 20 minutes, numerous current and former players texted him.
“I could not believe the immediate response,” the owner of DePietro’s Pharmacy said.
“I made a decision to not allow customers to enter the store for their and my co-workers safety. In a panic, I realized I would need help assisting customers curbside. My first thought was to text coach Kevin McHale.
“Within minutes I had over 20 kids reaching out and offering support.
“It is truly humbling to see these kids provide care and compassion during a pandemic. They easily could have elected not to get involved.
“I’m so proud of the kids, their parents, coaches, teachers and Dunmore. Over and over the Dunmore community finds a way to shine. We will all get this together in true Dunmore fashion. The Dunmore community always comes together.”
DePietro said the group of current and former Dunmore football players wear protective gear, masks and gloves. “We have a safety huddle before every shift,” he said.
The current and former Dunmore football players who volunteer at DePietro’s Pharmacy include Billy DonVito, Pat DonVito, Keiran Reyes, Zach Cruser, Jerry Sanchez, George Mesko, Kamryn Reyes, Mike Giannetta, Ross Cordaro and Sean Pietruszkiewicz.
Billy DonVito played four years of football at Dunmore, graduating in 2019. He was a freshman end at Springfield College this past year. He was one of the first to volunteer his time.
“When someone who gives so much and reaches out for help,” he said, “it is our job and duty to get there. We rounded up the guys and are going to help till the Pandemic is over. We have three guys always there 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and three there 2 to 6 p.m.
“We wait outside in full gear. We wait for a customer to pull up and we run the order inside the store in a basket. We wear gloves, masks and take all precautions. We have no close interaction with the customers and wipe everything down constantly.
“When we heard there was a chance to help, the word spread quickly and a bunch of us volunteered.”
Coach McHale was not surprised by the turnout. “Community service has always been a big part of our football program,” he said. “Our kids do a great job with it.
“Tom DePietro and DePietro’s Pharmacy are some of our biggest supporters. When Tom was in need of assistance, some of our players were quick to lend a hand.”
The football players go through a daily pre-shift meeting of guidelines they must follow. The guidelines begin with washing and wearing gloves. The young men must stay six feet away from customers and stand to their side. Every so often, they must return to wash their hands again and change gloves.
The business continues to serve hundreds of customers a day during the state-wide shutdown.
DePietro, a 2002 Dunmore graduate, credited coach McHale and former Dunmore coach Jack Henzes for molding the football players into fine young men.
Not even a national pandemic can pull this community apart.
“These kids’ parents, teachers and coaches raised them right. It’s a credit to these kids, their parents and the whole community.”
From an early age, Dunmore native Tom DePietro was instilled with an unwavering pride for his hometown and a deep-rooted commitment to helping others.
All these years later, he’s living up to both of those virtues as the owner-pharmacist of DePietro’s Pharmacy in Dunmore.
DePietro founded the pharmacy in March 2012 with the goal of melding cutting-edge pharmaceutical care with the quaint friendliness of a classic mom and pop business. For him and his employees, that means providing patients with exceptional customer service, offering services that other pharmacies do not, working closely with other health care providers during these ever-changing times, and staying firmly connected to the community at large.
That philosophy is working just fine. In recent years, DePietro’s has been recognized by the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce with its “Business of the Year,” “Best Practices in Customer Service” and “Best Practices in Community Involvement” awards. Meanwhile, the pharmacy was voted “Best Local Pharmacy” for the past five years by the readers of The Times-Tribune.
“Unfortunately, health care can be so complicated for people to navigate. So, it’s inspiring to manage a pharmacy team that goes above and beyond for our customers,” DePietro said. “Not only do we make sure they understand their conditions and medications, but we also provide many other invaluable resources.”
Both of DePietro’s parents worked in health care – his father as a pharmacist, his mother as a nurse — and the dedication and empathy they showed to their patients left an indelible impression on him.
“What really resonated with me was their passion for helping people and being able to make an impact on their patients,” he said. “Their hours were long and their days were stressful, but what they focused on was how they were able to help someone. That always stuck with me.”
After graduating from Dunmore High School, DePietro earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Temple University School of Pharmacy. From there, he went to work for a large chain pharmacy.
Quickly, he fell in love with the world of retail pharmacy, and over time developed the ability to build close relationships with his customers and peers. He also found he had the capacity to motivate his team to exceed customer expectations.
“However, while I was extremely grateful for the opportunity, I felt like corporate policies and goals didn’t quite align with the best interests of the patients,” DePietro said. “After sharing my vision of opening my own pharmacy with my wife and family, they gave me the courage and support to pursue my dream.”
Outside of the pharmacy, DePietro has made community service a priority via a number of volunteer ventures near and dear to him, including the Parish Finance Council at Immaculate Conception Church, the Jude Zayac Foundation and the Lackawanna County Heritage Valley Authority.
And, of course, he’s a dedicated husband and father to his wife, Eugenia, and their daughter, Dominica.
“My day begins and ends with being a husband and father. And, as a pharmacist and owner, my daily responsibilities can be summed up in a word — everything,” he said. “Between filling prescriptions and advising patients, you’ll find me working alongside my trusted team, strategically networking and marketing and doing my best to serve the community.”