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Caroline's Cart, shopping made easy for caregivers of disabled & special needs children and adults, created by a mom
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Alabama mother lobbies for her invention, Caroline's Cart

Alabama mother lobbies for her invention, Caroline's Cart | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
A woman from Alabama came to the nation's capital to fight for her disabled daughter. And she hopes to help other families across the country with her invention, Caroline's Cart.
 
Michele Dickey Portfolio's insight:

A woman from Alabama came to the nation's capital to fight for her disabled daughter and she hopes to help other families across the country.

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On a mission, Drew Ann Long brought her entire family to Capitol Hill., including her severely disabled daughter Caroline. She takes Caroline with her almost everywhere.

“And I have invented a special needs shopping cart,” Long says. “It's called Caroline's Cart.” http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/03/alabama-mother-lobbies-for-her-invention-caroline-s-cart-86210.html

Long struggled to run errands and shop with Caroline.

Today, she met with lawmakers and their staffers to talk about her problem and eventual solution.

“After a year of looking, I realized there was no such product,” Long says. “So I started a Quest and I invented a special needs shopping cart. “

While Long would like to see legislation mandating Caroline's Carts across the country, she says her real goal is to raise awareness.

“I represent millions of families,” Long says. “I’ve gotten thousands and thousands of letters from families, so I come here asking them that retailers provide this cart. So we can shop with our children. We don't have to hire a baby sitter we can stop on the fly.“

Caroline's Carts cost about $200 more than the regular model. It has a handle that swings open for placing someone in the tilting seat. It also has straps to keep a child or adult safely in the seat. The manufacturer maintains they are well worth the investment.

“We are serving an invisible population,” says Rebel Negley, amanufacturer's representative. “Many of these retailers and grocers are unaware of this population. They don't see them in their stores everyday. This will increase their business. “

But for now the visits to lawmakers and business leaders continue, with the hope that one day grocery shopping will be easier for those with disabled loved ones.

For more information, click here: Caroline's Cart | Making Mobility Easy!

Or go to the Facebook page: Caroline's Cart | Facebook

And Caroline's Cart is on Twitter

 

Would you like to contribute to this story? Start a discussion.

SHORT URL: http://wj.la/Xvvlga


Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/03/alabama-mother-lobbies-for-her-invention-caroline-s-cart-86210.html#ixzz2NSuLRTwn

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'Caroline's Cart' makes shopping easier | Michigan Local News

It can be a challenge to find time to simply grocery shop. But for families with a special needs child or adult they have a challenge of their own ... This entry was posted in Michigan. Bookmark the permalink.
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Alabaster family is face of congressional bill | The Alabaster Reporter

Alabaster family is face of congressional bill | The Alabaster Reporter | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
When Alabaster residents David and Drew Ann Long set out to create ...
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http://www.alabasterreporter.com/2013/03/08/alabaster-family-is-face-of-congressional-bill/

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Alabaster mom going to Capitol Hill to lobby for special-needs population

Alabaster mom going to Capitol Hill to lobby for special-needs population | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
ALABASTER, Alabama -- Alabaster mother Drew Ann Long and her family are traveling to Washington, D.C., this month as the face of proposed legislation that would help people save for future medical costs and other expenses for individuals with...
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http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2013/03/alabaster_mom_going_to_capitol.html

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Twitter / carolinescart: Thank you @PatrickMcHenry for ...

Thank you @PatrickMcHenry for meeting with @carolines_cart to help #specialneeds families have access to ABLE Act! http://t.co/FyNyGG2jAj
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Mom On Mission For Special Needs Kids, Promotes Innovative Grocery Cart | Shelby Report

Mom On Mission For Special Needs Kids, Promotes Innovative Grocery Cart | Shelby Report | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
Drew Ann Long is the inventor of Caroline's Cart, a grocery cart designed to allow people with special needs to be a part of the shopping experience.
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Caroline's Cart Inventor Drew Ann Long Advocates For Those With Special Needs

Caroline's Cart Inventor Drew Ann Long Advocates For Those With Special Needs | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
An Alabama woman is in Washington, D.C. on a quest to help children with special needs. Drew Ann Long is the inventor of what's called Caroline's Cart.
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http://www.apr.org/post/carolines-cart-inventor-drew-ann-long-advocates-those-special-needs

Caroline's Cart Inventor Drew Ann Long Advocates For Those With Special 

By RYAN VASQUEZ

Enlarge image
Credit Caroline's Cart
Caroline with her mother Drew Ann Long.
0:513:43

An Alabama woman is in Washington, D.C. on a quest to help children with special needs. Drew Ann Long is the inventor of what's called Caroline's Cart. It's a grocery cart designed to allow people with disabilities be a part of the shopping experience.


Long's advocacy for special needs individuals has taken her all the way from Alabama to Capitol Hill this week.


Alabama Public Radio's Ryan Vasquez recently spoke to her about what inspired her to develop Caroline's Cart and what she hopes to get out of her trip to Washington, D.C. this week.

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What an incredibly... | Facebook

What an incredibly... | Facebook | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
CP Daily Living wrote: What an incredibly inspiring family!... Join Facebook to connect with CP Daily Living and others you may know. (What an incredibly inspiring family! You go Caroline's Cart! Way to take it to the top!
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Twitter / Mfriesz1: @Easter_Seals family, Drew ...

RT @Mfriesz1: @Easter_Seals family, Drew Ann and David Long thank Senator Burr's office for introducing ABLE Act. http://t.co/35pygQk4il
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Twitter / Mfriesz1: Caroline's Cart founder Drew ...

Caroline's Cart founder Drew Long, w Caroline, present to US Access Board abt cart's accessibility success http://t.co/MPVsWMrQQJ
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Caroline’s Cart | al.com | Birmingham Magazine

Caroline’s Cart | al.com | Birmingham Magazine | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it

http://www.al.com/bhammag/index.ssf/well_beyond/carolines_cart.html

Michele Dickey Portfolio's insight:

Five years ago when Drew Ann Long shopped at the grocery store or ran an
errand, she hired a babysitter for her
daughter Caroline who has Rett Syndrome. Until Caroline outgrew them, Long was able to place Caroline in the fun carts meant for active toddlers. Then she pushed Caroline in a wheelchair while at the same time trying to maneuver the grocery cart with her free hand and keep an eye on her other two children. Sometimes another adult went with Long to help her navigate this everyday experience. Other times, she chose the drive through for dinner.
Frustrated, Long started brainstorming how to solve the problem she and millions of parents face daily, weekly, when they shop at the grocery store or any other retail outlet. Surely it couldn’t be that complicated to create a cart to accommodate Caroline and the other overlooked children like her. She sketched an idea on a napkin, began researching and contacted the largest shopping cart manufacturer to discuss the validity of her idea.
For six months the plant manager refused to accept her phone calls. When she asked for a meeting, he said, “I might as well. You won’t stop calling.” In the meeting, he assured her and her husband David that retailers would buy the product. Excited she’d gotten the industry validation she needed, she was still puzzled: “But why hasn’t it been done before?” she asked. A 20-year industry veteran, the manager didn’t have an answer but insisted she build a market for the cart concept. “How?” she wanted to know. “You got this far,” he told her. “Go out and blow it up. Create demand.”
Sitting in the car outside the manufacturing plant before that meeting, her husband told her, “Either it starts or stops today.” When they returned to the car, he smiled at her and said, “It starts today.” That was in 2009. Long knew then she had to have a working prototype, and soon discovered that an electrical firm 10 minutes from the Indianapolis headquarters of the company her husband worked for was capable of creating a prototype.
Long pitched them and the company agreed to make it. Without any guarantee of future success, the Longs withdrew $22,000 from their savings to pay for it. Placing Caroline in the cart when she brought it home, Long knew, regardless of the future, she’d succeeded then and there.
But she couldn’t stop. Long assembled a team to handle contracts and patents. Now all she had to do was figure out how to manufacture the cart, understand the supply chain and convince retailers to buy it. Long says, “You might as well have asked me to invent the space shuttle.”
About that time, a major manufacturer agreed to meet with her. The next day Caroline was scheduled for hip surgery, which prompted reactions to anesthesia and left her in a full body cast, struggling for her life in ICU. In the hospital Long received her first phone call from a major retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The next day, her husband lost his job.
At that point, she hit pause on the demand-building phase, took the prototype into the garage and covered it with a sheet. Alone, she prayed: “God, when you want this to continue, you will have to make a way. I don’t know what to do.”
Six months passed: her husband received a good severance package and found a new job; Caroline was no longer in a body cast; and her son started preschool. Long took the sheet off Caroline’s Cart. She was determined to build demand and talk to retailers, but she never knew what each day would bring. When Caroline was returned to the hospital for back surgery she brought her laptop there. “All I knew to do was one thing each day to move Caroline’s Cart forward,” Long recalls.
In May 2012 she attended a trade show in Dallas held in a football stadium. Tucked away in the end zone, she was not receiving much traffic or interest about Caroline’s Cart. Frustrated, she and her CEO Rebel Negley, parked themselves in front of the Budweiser truck in the middle of the show, Long sitting in the cart to demonstrate how it worked. Needless to say, they received the traffic they needed.
When Michelle Obama spoke in Alabama this year, Long had a chance to meet her because Caroline is the National Easter Seals child. The First Lady encouraged Long not to give up, saying, “You can’t stop this. It’s because of moms like you that things like this exist.” She soon found a manufacturer to make 100 carts.
In October, after a long journey, Caroline’s Cart became available at Belle Foods in Alabaster, Hoover and Tuscaloosa. They are also in grocery stores in New York, Vermont, Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, and Mississippi.
How has Long changed since the day she sketched her idea on a napkin five years ago? She says she no longer believes hurdles are insurmountable.
Learn more about Caroline’s Cart at carolinescart.com.

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Caroline’s Cart Creator Heads to D.C. | Community Service content from Supermarket News

Caroline’s Cart Creator Heads to D.C. | Community Service content from Supermarket News | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
The inventor of Caroline’s Cart will meet with federal policymakers and other elected officials March 12-14 in Washington to raise awareness of the cart as a new addition for retailers seeking to make their stores more accessible.
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http://supermarketnews.com/community-service/caroline-s-cart-creator-heads-dc

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Wegmans Testing Cart for Children with Special Needs | Moms blog | Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Wegmans Testing Cart for Children with Special Needs | Moms blog | Rochester Democrat and Chronicle | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
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Carolines Cart Shows the Power of Inclusion | Viewpoints

Carolines Cart Shows the Power of Inclusion | Viewpoints | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
Caroline's Cart demonstrates how intense loyalty can be engendered simply by making the shopping experience easier.
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'Caroline's Cart' makes shopping easier for families with special needs children

'Caroline's Cart' makes shopping easier for families with special needs children | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
It can be a challenge to find time to simply grocery shop. But for families with a special needs child or adult they have a challenge of their own ...
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DETROIT -

It can be a challenge to find time to simply grocery shop. But for families with a special needs child or adult they have a challenge of their own and it's one you wouldn't even think about.

Moms are masters of multitasking, but when you are the mother of a special needs child even the simplest tasks become complex.

For Heather Piszar, grocery shopping with her daughter Sarah is a challenge.

“It was fine when she fit in a typical cart seat but as soon as they outgrow there is nothing for them. If you can come to the store when it's empty it's a little easier, but it gets really heavy; the pushing part, the pulling part," the mom said. "Just trying to juggle everything and not crash into walls or signage and not crashing into other customers.”

Justin Hiller, vice president of Hiller's Markets, discovered Caroline’s Cart, a grocery cart designed to allow people with special needs to be part of the shopping experience.

He ordered one for all seven of their locations in Michigan.

"“This gave us an opportunity to be able to help customers that have a huge burden through every day of their life. If we can make that shopping experience better for them then we are absolutely going to do it. That's what this cart does," Hiller said.

The cart has adjustable straps and can hold up to 250 pounds -- accommodating both children and adults.

For mothers like Heather, it's more than just a shopping cart, it's a sense of normalcy.

She hopes other retailers will jump on board, “I was touched to tears. They took a stand to say we're going to support families and caregivers of individuals with disabilities by allowing them to be included in everyday activities which is the crux to inclusion and accessibility.”

LIST: Hiller’s Market locations

MORE INFO ON CAROLINE'S CART: www.carolinescart.com

http://www.clickondetroit.com/community/-Caroline-s-Cart-makes-shopping-easier-for-families-with-special-needs-children/-/2207168/19396884/-/13k7lmqz/-/index.html

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Caroline's Cart Inventor Drew Ann Long Advocates For Those With Special Needs

Caroline's Cart Inventor Drew Ann Long Advocates For Those With Special Needs | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
An Alabama woman is in Washington, D.C. on a quest to help children with special needs. Drew Ann Long is the inventor of what's called Caroline's Cart. It (Caroline's Cart is an awesome idea!
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Alabaster family is face of congressional bill | Shelby County Reporter

Alabaster family is face of congressional bill | Shelby County Reporter | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
When Alabaster residents David and Drew Ann Long set out to create ...
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Alabaster family is face of congressional bill http://www.shelbycountyreporter.com/2013/03/08/alabaster-family-is-face-of-congressional-bill/

 

When Alabaster residents David and Drew Ann Long set out to create a shopping cart for special needs kids about five years ago, they never imagined it would lead to a lobbying trip to Capitol Hill.

“It’s such an honor. We will literally be representing millions of families while we are up there,” Drew Ann Long said two days before departing on the trip. “That’s a part of history. If it passes it will go to President Obama to be signed. That’s just mind-boggling to me.”

The Longs have been working for years to create a shopping cart for special-needs children using their daughter, Caroline, as an inspiration. Caroline Long, who is now 8 years old, was diagnosed at 4 years old with Rett syndrome, a nervous system disorder affecting movement and expressive language.

During their weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., the Longs will lobby senators and representatives on behalf of the Easter Seals-sponsored ABLE bill, which stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience.

If passed, the bill would establish tax-deferred savings accounts for individuals with disabilities using current 529 college savings plans as a model. Through the ABLE savings plans, friends and family members could deposit money into the accounts to be accessed by the individual with disabilities at a certain age.

The money could help offset expenses such as education, medical and dental care, housing and employment training.

“It’s such a great idea because it doesn’t penalize someone with special needs,” Drew Ann Long said, noting her family was the only one chosen by the national Easter Seals organization to promote the bill. “I am hopeful that it will pass.”

Also during the trip, the Longs will promote Caroline’s Cart during presentations to the United States Access Board and the National Council on Disability. Caroline’s Cart was introduced last year in Birmingham-area Belle Foods grocery stores, and is now being used in 17 states.

“We will bringing awareness to a need that exists in every community in the United States,” Drew Ann Long said. “We will be tell the senators and representatives we meet with ‘Every one of you have constituents where you’re from who can benefit from this project.’”

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Caroline's Cart Founder in DC to lobby for ABLE Act | Facebook

Caroline's Cart Founder in DC to lobby for ABLE Act | Facebook | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
Caroline's Cart Founder in DC to lobby for ABLE ActUpdated on Tuesday · Taken in Washington, District of ColumbiaDrew Ann Long, founder and Rebel Register Negley in DC to lobby for the ABLE Act
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https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151469245188431.1073741825.129992078430&type=3

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Twitter / MBDinBHAM: Thank you @AnderCrenshaw for ...

Thank you @AnderCrenshaw for meeting w/ #BHAM 's @carolines_cart founder Drew Ann Long and Caroline! #passtheABLEAct http://t.co/8Q7fwc5iRd
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Mom On Mission For Special Needs Kids, Promotes Innovative Grocery Cart | Shelby Report

Mom On Mission For Special Needs Kids, Promotes Innovative Grocery Cart | Shelby Report | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
Drew Ann Long is the inventor of Caroline's Cart, a grocery cart designed to allow people with special needs to be a part of the shopping experience.
Michele Dickey Portfolio's insight:

http://www.theshelbyreport.com/2013/03/06/mom-on-mission-for-special-needs-kids-promotes-innovative-grocery-cart/#.UUELydY3uSo

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Twitter / carolinescart: Thank you 2 @ABC7News for ...

Thank you 2 @ABC7News for interviewing @carolines_cart CEO Rebel Negley about the ABLE Act! @Easter_Seals http://t.co/bYNh4JpVQ5
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Twitter / Mfriesz1: @Easter_Seals 2012 Child Rep ...

@Easter_Seals 2012 Child Rep Caroline Long and her mom, Drew Ann, founder of Caroline's Cart, on Capitol Hill: Day 2 http://t.co/olZf5pzjri
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Twitter / Mfriesz1: Drew Ann Long, Caroline's Cart ...

RT @Mfriesz1: Drew Ann Long, Caroline's Cart inventor, thanks U.S. Access Board 4 commitment to accessibility for ppl w/ dis. http://t.co/yk3mYboI7i
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I love Caroline's Cart – Gelateria Naia

I love Caroline's Cart – Gelateria Naia | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
Posted on: January 8th, 2013 by rolando. I love Caroline's Cart. I will be sharing this with my grocery store contacts. Simple things like this can make the lives of the disabled and their families (elderly as well) so much better.
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Cookeville grocery first in state to offer special-needs cart - COOKEVILLE — A Cookeville grocery store is taking the initiative to help the parents of special-needs children when it comes to groce...

Cookeville grocery first in state to offer special-needs cart - COOKEVILLE — A Cookeville grocery store is taking the initiative to help the parents of special-needs children when it comes to groce... | Carolines Cart | Scoop.it
Cookeville grocery first in state to offer special-needs cart - COOKEVILLE — A Cookeville grocery store is taking the initiative to help the parents of special-needs children when it comes to grocery shopping.
Michele Dickey Portfolio's insight:

Cookeville grocery store is taking the initiative to help the parents of special-needs children when it comes to grocery shopping.

The local Hometown IGA now has a new cart in service, called Caroline’s Cart, which is uniquely designed for autistic children and children with physical disabilities.

“I saw a photo of Caroline’s Cart online and I called Drew Ann to talk about it,” Jeff Davidson, parent of a special-needs child and the founder and president of Rising Above Ministries, said. “That’s when I learned that no one in Tennessee had one.”

Upon finding that out, Davidson called David Burnett, an executive with Houchens Industries, the owner of the Hometown IGA, and sent him the information.

“On his own accord, he immediately ordered a cart for the store,” Davidson said. “Even though it is an expensive item, he was passionate that the Cookeville IGA go the extra mile to serve special needs families in Cookeville.”

Hometown IGA is the first and only grocery store to date in Tennessee to offer the cart.

Burnett works hard to make the shopping experience a pleasant one, even for those parents of special-needs children.

“The local Hometown IGA is part of a 100 percent employee-owned company,” he said. “It is our goal as good corporate citizens in every community in which we do business. We believe in the mission of Rising Above Ministries and are excited to provide a Caroline’s Cart for our customers to use. This is jut another opportunity for our employee owners to insure that our customers have a great shopping experience at the local Hometown IGA.”

Caroline’s Cart was created by Drew Ann Long, the mother of a special-needs child named Caroline.

“When Caroline was small, I was able to use the shopping carts that retailers provided,” she explains on the website. “As she grew older and bigger, it was clear that I would soon have to find another option because she would no longer fit in the cart. When I needed to shop, I felt a sense of frustration due to my limited options. Pushing both Caroline in a wheelchair and a grocery cart at the same time was not feasible. I would have to find a sitter for Caroline, bring someone with me to push her wheelchair or take her shopping with me and only purchase what I could carry while pushing her wheelchair.”

Davidson can relate to that. He has a special-needs child who is in a wheelchair. 

“There are a number of unique features to the cart,” he explained. “It has a special front-facing seat (with a safety belt) that is reclined at a 12-degree angle for people with low muscle tone, a brake to lock the cart and a loading/unloading mechanism.”

According to the website, the seat’s weight limit is 250 pounds. The handles swing open to allow the parent or caregiver to load and unload the passenger safely.

Wren Vanhooser is the mother of a special-needs child who tested the cart at IGA.

“We’re very grateful for it,” she said. “It makes shopping so much easier. It’s very lightweight and you can still get a lot in it.”

Dusty Fleming, Hometown IGA store manager, noted that since word got out about the cart at IGA, it’s been a popular item.

“More and more families are using the cart,” he said. “Anyone can also call ahead and we can have the cart waiting for them outside if they need it.”

Since Davidson posted the information on Facebook, the feedback has been overwhelming.

“This is the perfect example of the community taking care of itself,” Davidson said. “This is a huge advantage for special needs families in this community. It’s amazing to see that someone is proactively saying they want to help.”

For more information about Caroline’s Cart, visit www.carolinescart.com

Read more: Herald Citizen - Cookeville grocery first in state to offer special needs cart

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