A group in Sherwood Park has made grocery shopping easier for parents of kids with special needs.

The Sherwood Park Elks helped a local mother pay for a special needs shopping cart at the local Save On Foods.

The addition was something that Carla Romaniuk said was a necessity for parents.

“Just to be able to take her inside and take her shopping with me and listen to her laughing and smiling in the cart just changes my life.”

Romaniuk’s daughter, Ashley, had outgrown the regular shopping carts at the store but when she researched it she found the $950 cost was prohibitive.

That was when she turned to the Elks.

“The Elks are all about supplying services and equipment when no other funding is available,” Leonard Shain explained.

“Our members decided that it was something that was needed in the community. We are proud to be the Lodge that bought, not just the first one in Sherwood Park but the first one in Alberta.”

The cart was designed by a mother of a special needs child in the United States. It has an adjustable harness, several locks to keep it from wheeling away and handles that fold up out of the way.

Romaniuk said she was hoping that other stores would soon add special carts to their locations.

“I would love nothing more than for all the other stores to jump on board invest in at least one shopping card so that these children and adults with special needs can get out into the community and do shopping.

“I will keep going until there are more of these shopping carts everywhere.”

With files from Amanda Anderson