Drew Ann Long, the visionary behind Caroline’s Cart, will make an important charitable donation to the GEAR Foundation Thursday, June 13 in downtown Franklin! Long will donate shopping carts, uniquely designed for special needs children, to Our Thrift Store to help facilitate the shopping experience for families that can utilize the invention.

Long will join Dave Krikac, founder of the GEAR Foundation, in a special dedication ceremony on Thursday at Our Thrift Store at 1018 Columbia Avenue. The public is invited to commemorate the moment with the two organizations at 11 a.m.

Caroline’s Cart incorporates a comfortable seat into a traditional cart for the transporting of special-needs children and adults, and combines the functions of both a wheelchair and a shopping cart. The mobile device is offered through grocers in 17 states.

“Our Thrift Store currently employs a large number of special-needs adults and provides jobs for those who may not fit in the mainstream job market. This will be a great addition to the store,” Krikac said.  “My initial reaction when I first learned about Caroline’s Cart was, ‘Why hasn’t someone thought of this sooner?’

“Caroline’s Cart serves a population that would either have to hire a sitter or completely skip the opportunity to shop.”

The GEAR Foundation is a multi-faceted acronym that stands for “Gainful Employment And Respect,” “Greater Earnings And Rewards” and “Grateful Employees and Relatives.” The organization is an umbrella for two multi-purpose facilities in downtown Franklin: Our Thrift Store and Our Fulfillment Center, both of which are a nucleus for training and job creation for those with special needs in the surrounding area.

Krikac says he believes that because of the GEAR Foundation’s mission, Caroline’s Cart is a wonderful partnership between two organizations dedicated to improving the lives of special-needs children and adults.

“Caroline’s Cart just makes sense and we are honored to receive this generous donation,” he said.

Long conceived her idea for the special-needs cart because of her daughter Caroline, who has Rett syndrome–a rare neurological disorder that has left her unable to walk or talk.

“Everyday, thousands of special-needs families find that getting into their favorite store is only half the battle,” Long said.  “One of the biggest struggles is maneuvering a wheelchair and traditional shopping cart at the same time.

“Our hope is that retailers worldwide will add Caroline’s Cart as an option for those needing mobility assistance, similar to what they’ve done with scooters and wheelchairs with shopping baskets.”

Krikac’s daughter, and her struggles to find a job because of her autism, was also a source of inspiration for the launch of the GEAR Foundation.

To learn more about the Our Thrift Store, visit www.OurThriftStore.org or visit the shop at 1018 Columbia Avenue.

More about Caroline’s Cart

Caroline’s Cart is a shopping cart created for special needs children and adults. It provides parents and caregivers a viable option to transport a child or adult through a store while grocery shopping, without simultaneously having to maneuver a wheelchair and a traditional grocery cart. It is named after Caroline, the special needs daughter of Drew Ann and David Long, founders of Parent Solution Group, LLC. For more information, visit www.carolinescart.com.

More about the GEAR Foundation

The mission of The GEAR Foundation, Our Thrift Store and Our Fulfillment Center is to provide individuals with disabilities with work experiences, which enables them to develop their own unique capabilities and potential, thereby achieving Gainful Employment and Respect. For more information, visit www.thegearfoundation.org.