A trip to her service club’s national convention sparked Cindy Blatny into action.
The member of Vernon Elks Lodge #45 could not wait to return home to the North Okanagan to share with club members the pet project of the Elks’ exalted ruler, a project called Caroline’s Cart – a grocery cart designed to help people with mobility issues.
“I work in seniors care and I thought, ‘well, this is perfect,’” said Blatny about Caroline’s Cart. “I came home from the convention, told the club about the carts and we put things into motion to fundraise.
“The goal would be to have one of these carts in each grocery store in Vernon.”
The carts are less than $2,000 each and Butcher Boys became the first to receive one. Store manager Tamsen White says the specially designed cart has been well received at the local grocery store.
“Reaction has been overwhelmingly positive,” said White. “There’s a lot of people excited about the cart. It comes with a safety harness, and front and rear locking. For our seniors, it’s part of their social interactions in a day, and we hope the cart will keep them coming around for visits for as long as possible.”
As Butcher Boys only has one cart (and Freshco also has purchased a cart), White said they would happily take reservations for the cart’s use.
Southward Medical Supplies in Vernon has partnered with two stores to bring the cart to their facility.
What Caroline’s Cart does is provide a more inclusive grocery shopping experience and improves accessibility for all customers.
Caroline’s Cart was created for special needs individuals. It provides caregivers a viable option to transport a special needs individual through a store while shopping, without the impossible task of having to maneuver a wheelchair and a traditional shopping cart at the same time.
The cart was the vision and mission of Drew Ann and David Long, and their special needs daughter, Caroline. Drew Ann realized her daughter would outgrow a typical shopping cart so she designed the cart, applied for a patent and enlisted the help of legal and business professionals to help bring Caroline’s Cart to market.
Drew Ann’s goal was to make Caroline’s Cart available to retailers everywhere, providing a quality product for special needs children that further enables their participation in mainstream society with their family through the common activity of grocery shopping.
The carts are also suitable for seniors and those with mobility issues.
The carts are made by Wanzl North America.
Drew Ann’s hope is that one day all retailers will provide an equal opportunity shopping experience for parents and caregivers of special needs children by furnishing them the option of a Caroline’s Cart.
Caroline’s Cart are currently available at retailers in 13 B.C. communities, including Vernon.