Shopping with Caroline’s Cart

Caroline and her dadOur son Gus has developmental disabilities and uses a wheelchair. He’s 26 years old now and has been living in a group home since he was 16. One thing he always liked doing with us when he lived at home? Grocery shopping.

While Gus was still little, we could use the traditional shopping carts retailers provide for customers. As Gus grew older and bigger, though, he couldn’t fit in the cart anymore. Pushing both Gus in a wheelchair and a grocery cart at the same time was not feasible.

That’s why I was so pleased to hear how our Easter Seals 2012 Youth Representative Caroline Long inspired her mother, Drew Ann, to come up with a grocery cart that accommodates older kids with disabilities. Caroline has received services from Easter Seals Alabama since she was 13 months old, and she and her mom were featured in an article in Supermarket News about Caroline’s Cart this month. The article explains that 11-year-old Caroline has Rett syndrome (a disorder of the nervous system) and is unable to walk or use her hands:

Her mother, Drew Ann Long, who has two other children, has tried to make Caroline feel included in everyday life activities, including grocery shopping, in their hometown of Alabaster, Ala., a suburb of Birmingham.

Drew Ann shared her dream of Caroline’s Cart with Easter Seals Alabama, and then Caroline’s father David flew to Chicago to meet with people here at Easter Seals Headquarters to present the idea. By that time, Drew Ann had already

  • hired a professional design firm to engineer the cart
  • retained legal counsel for business and patent matters, and
  • enlisted the services of business and public relations consultants.

Today, Drew Ann Long’s dream is a reality, and you can watch a video to see how Carolin’s Cart works. The Long family’s goal is to make Caroline’s Cart available at retailers across the country. If your local retailer does not offer Caroline’s Cart, Drew Ann Long suggests you ask for it by name or contact her for an outlet nearest you.


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