Monday, March 9, 2015

Kylie and others with special needs can shop with ease in Caroline's Carts

Front: Holly McMaster with Kylie, Back: Ken Kitagawa, Peter Wollman, Clayton LeJan, Les Ostby, Connor and Claire McMaster 

Toni Lucas

Grocery shopping with a person with special needs just got easier in Pincher Creek.

Representatives from Pincher Creek Elks Lodge #474 Ken Kitagawa, Peter Wollman, and Les Ostby delivered Caroline's Carts to the Pincher Creek Co-op Grocery Store and Pincher Creek Walmart on March 6.  A Caroline’s Cart is a specially designed shopping cart created for special needs children, and adults. It provides parents and caregivers a new option to transport a person from 4 years old and up, or 35-250 pounds, through a store while grocery shopping, without having the frustrating task of having to maneuver a wheelchair and a traditional grocery cart at the same time. It is named after Caroline, the special needs daughter of Drew Ann and David Long of Alabama.  Mother and cart designer Drew Ann Long said in a YouTube presentation  "There is not a community that doesn't have families like mine."

Kylie with a new point of view
One of the people in Pincher Creek who face challenges shopping with her family is eight year old Kylie McMaster. Kylie is non-verbal, and diagnosed with Lennox–Gastaut Syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy. She was accompanied by her whole family on this excursion. Her father Claire admitted that often it has been too much to have a family outing to do the shopping. Many times either he or his wife Holly would stay at home, splitting the family up, and denying their daughter, and indeed their whole family, a normal day-to-day experience. Holly explained that her daughter has developmental delays that prevent her from walking or talking but she loves to be out, and adores being with her older brother Connor. Kylie was the first person to get into the cart at Co-op.

The cart has special safety features, brakes, and a five point harness. Elks Representative Les Ostby said that these carts cost $950 each before shipping and handling. When told of how this was going to make family shopping trips not only easier, but possible for this family Ostby said "To know it's actually going to get used is such a bonus."  Co-op Food Store Manager Clayton LeJan and Walmart Manager Don Young said that they will be monitoring the use of the cart in their stores and if the demand is high enough, they will consider getting a second one.

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