PEI

Caroline's Cart for people with special needs in Summerside

Getting groceries is now easier for some families in Summerside, thanks to a new shopping cart for people with special needs.

Specially designed cart helps people shop and push someone at the same time

Tanya Millar pushes her son Christian in the new Caroline's Cart at Summerside Atlantic Superstore. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Getting groceries is now easier for some families in Summerside, thanks to a new shopping cart for people with special needs.

Tanya Millar often takes her 8-year-old son Christian grocery shopping with her, but she said it's often a challenge.

Christian has autism as well as a rare genetic disorder. He can walk, but Millar said he often doesn't want to, and it's a lot of work to get him to stick with her while she shops.

Millar said if she didn't have anyone else with her to help, she would have to put Christian in the grocery cart, and "just be piling groceries kind of around him."

Often, she'd just leave him at home.

New, special cart

Now, Millar's shopping trips are going to be a lot easier. Atlantic Superstore in Summerside just got a special cart, called a Caroline's Cart. It's designed for kids like Christian, who have special needs or can't walk, and have outgrown regular grocery carts. It can even hold adults up to 250 lbs.

The cart can hold people from 35 lbs up to 250 lbs. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Millar read about the carts last month, and contacted the store to ask if it could buy one.

Store Manager Pam MacNeill said when she saw Millar's request, she immediately decided the store would buy one of the carts.

MacNeill said she hopes families of people with special needs "will be able to come grocery shopping, as any other family does, and enjoy that time together, and be able to have that family outing the same as able-bodied families do."

Overwhelming response

Millar said she was surprised by how quickly MacNeill responded to her request.

"It's amazing, it's a big relief to know that Christian can come with us now, we don't have to leave him at home all of the time. He loves being out and about, it's just, it's amazing."

Caroline's Carts allow parents to push their kids and put groceries in the same cart. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Millar is not the only one who will benefit from the new cart. MacNeill said she's heard from many families who said the cart will allow them to bring their kids shopping with them.

MacNeill said she's had comments "from parents who've expressed that they haven't been able to take a child shopping in upwards to two years. So that's sad. That's something that not all of us face, right. So, it's just been amazing."

Three other stores on P.E.I. already have Caroline's Carts. There are two in Charlottetown and one in Montague. The new cart at Atlantic Superstore is the first one in Summerside.