Trader Joe's donated shopping carts help blind children learn important life skill

A Valley Trader Joe's donated two child-size shopping carts to the Foundation for Blind Children.

Most kids love pushing the child-size carts around the grocery store.

But a donation from Trader Joe's has those carts taking on a new role. 

The Foundation for Blind Children is using two donated carts to help their students learn to navigate an everyday activity -- a trip to the grocery store.

"Grocery shopping is such a staple of life and a necessity. What better way to help our kids navigate a grocery store than a shopping cart," said Steve Pawlowski, director of communications and development for the foundation.

He said that when one of their staff members stopped by the Trader's Joe in Paradise Valley, the store manager "graciously donated two carts without blinking an eye."

One of the Trader Joe's managers said that when someone from the foundation came in asking for a cart, they were happy to help. And they even gave more than what the foundation asked for.

"Obviously we are indebted to Trader Joe's," Pawlowski said.

The Foundation for Blind Children also teaches their students other essential daily skills, such as how to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, shave and apply makeup.

Their programs are working, according to Pawlowski. Nationally the unemployment rate among blind people is 70 percent. That rate is 5 percent for students at the foundation.

"We're putting kids to work," he said.

Pawlowski also pointed out this training benefits more than just their students. 

"A blind person at the age of 18 can start collecting a social security check. If that person chooses to forgo that check, over the course of their lifetime that saves taxpayers $1.4 million per person," said Pawlowski.

Foundation alumni have become engineers and teachers, and two are currently in med school.

So that donation of two shopping carts -- it's worth more than meets the eye.

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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