“I have a child with special needs who cannot hold himself upright while sitting in a shopping cart,” the letter begins. It explains how difficult it is to shop for groceries while simultaneously pushing the wheelchair or stroller of a child with disabilities and pulling the shopping cart.
Chrissy Masco of Logan wrote the letter on March 21 and began sharing it with local grocery store managers, urging them to purchase a Caroline’s Cart for their stores. Caroline’s Cart is designed for children who have mobility issues and can make grocery shopping a less stressful experience for families of children with disabilities.
One month later, on April 21, the first Caroline’s Cart in Utah was delivered to the Lee’s Marketplace store in Logan. Jarad McDonald, Lee’s vice president for operations, said on April 22 that the response to the cart has been so positive, he has ordered Caroline’s Carts for the Smithfield and Ogden stores as well, at a cost of about $900 per cart.
“I heard Chrissy’s story and what they were going through,” McDonald said. “Her story aligned with our core values so it was an easy decision. It was the right thing to do.”
Masco’s two-year-old son, Eli, has hypertonia (tight muscle tone) in his arms and legs, and hypotonia (low muscle tone) in his core, which makes it harder to crawl, sit up or walk—anything you’d use your core muscles for.
The Masco family became involved with Up to 3 Early Intervention at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities when Eli was around nine months old, after he spent 2 1/2 weeks at Primary Children’s Hospital because he was losing weight. The family also includes Eli’s dad, Bowen, and sister, LynnDee, age 4.
Masco saw a story about Caroline’s Cart on Facebook and thought, if something like this is available, then why not try to get one?
“It wasn’t if I was going to do this, it was, I am going to do this,” she said.
Sara Hendricks is a student in SPED 5810, a seminar class, and was assigned to work with the Masco family as part of her classwork. She has done home visits and other activities, and worked on the letter with Chrissy.
The letter concludes, “The cart … would also enable children with special needs to participate in mainstream society by being able to join their families in a shopping excursion. Please consider purchasing Caroline’s Cart for your store; it would fill a need and be greatly appreciated.”
“We are a community store,” McDonald said. “This just made an emotional connection.”