Call it serendipity, kismet, chance or just a happy coincidence – but at Variety Tent 8, it felt like something magical was taking place. The phone rang late one afternoon at Variety KC. On the line was Nancy Truitt, mother of a growing Variety Child named Mattox. Mattox has autism, Duchene’s, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy. And what Mattox likes best is people. He likes to be included, be involved and to help. In fact, when Mattox outgrew his adaptive tricycle, it became very important to find smaller buddy who could use and enjoy it.
So, when Nancy called Variety, Executive Director, Deborah Wiebrecht, answered the phone and was greeted by a very excited mother. Had Deb ever heard of Carolina’s Carts? A grocery cart that would allow for caregivers to transport larger children and small adults throughout a store? Deb searched the web while Nancy continued to talk about how a cart like that would enhance Maddox’s life and the lives of other families as well. He could be safely included on trips to the store, make shopping decisions, and “help” his family with the shopping. He would no longer be left behind, yet again.
With a promise to look into it, Deb said goodbye to Nancy Truitt and immediately contacted Carolina’s carts. Gathering the basic information, she next dialed Nancy Pagel, a longtime Variety Board Member and Marketing Director of the Kansas City area HyVee food stores. Nancy Pagel immediately understood the potential and promised that she would call back. Less than an hour passed and Hy-Vee had committed to granting a Carolina’s cart (in Variety’s name)for each of their area stores.
Today you can walk into HyVee and hear an announcement encouraging the use of the Carolina Cart, and quite often you will catch a glimpse of the cart in use. Families say the carts are freeing, making a difficult trip much easier. And Mattox? His mother claims he is now a bit of a shopaholic.
Variety helps so many children and families with what seems to be an endless list of needs. We all know that not every need is granted this swiftly or smoothly. But on that day, the stars aligned, the right hearts were in the right places at the right time, and lives all over the city changed for the better.
And doesn’t that sound a bit like magic to you?