Took my son to work this a.m., 5:15 - love it when I tell my tales and make him grin and laugh. On the way home, was suddenly inspired to go ahead and get gas. At the station, while pumping gas, I saw the homeless woman who travels about in my neighborhood with her carts - I call her The 2 Cart Lady. [I tried to give her a banana once, but she declined.] Inside the station, paying for gas and sundry other items, I asked the clerk about The 2 Cart Lady - is there something she stops in for, that she likes? He said she had just come in for coffee, and he and other clerks have tried to offer her things but she won't take them. I decided against a goody bag for her, to respect her independence and pride. But as I was driving out, and seeing the jumble of items in her carts, and remembering watching her roll one cart up the street, then walk back for the other, I had AN IDEA.
I love ideas. As soon as I got home, I wrote this:
'What about a grocery cart outfitter kit? Something that fits the existing dimensions of a grocery cart, but offers pockets and dividers, for organization of items, inside the cart, under the cart, and with flaps that fold over outside the cart frame? Maybe a PVC pipe pull-up system that holds a hidden awning flap that flips out, for sun or rain protection. What about a hidden compartment for more valuable items? what about collapsible dividers that can be pulled upright, with insulated corner joinings which, if you slide a plastic water bottle into them, will then support the flap - and insulate the bottles if they're full and cold?
Who could I work with to design one? What fun! People who are homeless - by choice or not, might love something like this. And oh! oh! what about a cart extender? Some other, smaller, rolling basket, that could be clipped onto a grocery cart for more storage? It couldn't be like a side car on a motorcycle, because of sidewalk clearance space. And you'd have to be able to 'drive' the whole thing, manage and maneuver it. So ... how about a pull trailer, so the person could stand between the front cart, step through a swing gate between it and the trailer, and push like normal but pull both? The pull trailer could be a modified grocery cart, maybe have different kinds of 'shelves' or box compartments, and a slide-over cover for rain and privacy protection, like those covers you pull over tents or patio furniture.
Carts being trashed by stores ('retired') could be cut down, sized, re-wheeled. And materials? What's at Good Will and other thrift stores that could be upcycled, used? For the kit itself, for kit cover? I mean - recycled carts, old tires of some sort (bigger, stronger), tent material, fabrics found at thrift stores (canvas, outdoor furniture type stuff, nylon, or something better/sturdier) ... and a volunteer team of welders to create the pull trailer.
Work in tandem with shelters and builders and designers to create a few prototypes; work closely with homeless peeps, see what they want, need, prefer, get their input. And using recycled/upcycled materials - awesome! What about some solar-powered lights in/around it, for night use? Is there a solar powered hot plate invention out there [yes]?
I'm obsessed with creating a HOME FEELING for everyone, if not a home itself.
What about a kit, on wheels, that isn't a grocery cart but has storage and a hot plate, a bed roll, stuff like that, for use in emergencies/natural disasters? What about adding a compartment for those that have pets, where the animal could snuggle and sleep, or ride along so its pawlets don't get fried by Phoenix pavements?
I am very clearly a co-creator of non-profit ideas/businesses -- ha! and I LOVE it!
Why not a commissary for the homeless - The Homeless Outfitters, or Independence Outfitters, something like that - where folks could come and trade recycled items for a solar plate, or trade time for a kit - something like that? Or work to design and build their own kit? Have a workshop with volunteers for that. And have donations to stock the 'store' part - not food, but kit materials, or kit components if people don't want a full cart kit? There are locker and closet and pantry and laundry room storage systems and components - why not for grocery carts? And what is there in thrift stores that's always donated, available, that could be used, modified as a base, or as an outfitter organizational component?
Yes. yes yes yes yes yes. I love how it just keeps growing in my head! And if by posting this idea, somebody sees it and runs with it? HELL YEA. That could be the whole reason why I suddenly, out of the blue, had the impulse to go top off my gas tank. Co-creation! Collaboration! That could be why our neighborhood 2 Cart Lady was nearby - to inspire the idea! Maybe retired people who have been asking for purposeful work, for the opportunity to continue to use their skillsets but in an expanded way, will find this post and find their answer. I don't own ideas. No idea is mine alone; I received this one - I can spread it and share it, be excited about, and maybe deliver it to those it's truly meant for, right? I am a willing co-creator and collaborator; I get to be -- AND WANT TO BE -- a conduit. Yea.