A host of people, including basketball star JaVale McGee and music executive Pierre “Pee” Thomas, have rallied around to support a 24-year-old Ohio mother who was arrested for leaving her children in a motel room while she went to work to make ends meet.
Shaina Bell, a mother of three, was arrested while working at a Little Caesars pizza chain in Liberty Township for allegedly leaving her 10-year-old and two-year-old daughters unattended to in a motel room after their father called the police, WKBN reported. She was charged with two counts of child endangering and ended up spending the night in jail. At the time of her arrest, Bell reportedly told officers she had arranged with someone to check on her daughters every hour while she was away.
After the news of her arrest and the circumstances surrounding it circulated on the media, Bell received an outpouring of support. At the time of this report, a GoFundMe set up for her to help “secure permanent and safe housing” had raised over $160,000 surpassing its initial $5,000 goal. Cleveland Cavaliers star JaVale McGee and Quality Control Music co-founder Pierre “Pee” Thomas chipped in with $5,000 and $10,000 donations respectively, WSLS reported.
“My mom used to have to do the same thing when we were young, not cause of abandonment issues, it’s because people can’t afford child care working at a pizza shop. She wasn’t hanging out at a club. She was at work,” Thomas wrote on Instagram.
In an interview with WKBN, Bell explained she did not have a choice but leave her children in the motel room as she had to go to work. She was reportedly staying in the motel.
“I had to go to work. My daughter decided that she wanted to stay here. My daughter told me that this is where she wants to be, and I felt that she was old enough to be able to stay here with her sister for a few hours because my job is right down the street,” Bell said, adding that it was never her intention to put her daughters in harm’s way.
“My kids bring me joy. They make me laugh. They’re my world. I would never do anything to harm my kids. My kids are everything to me,” she said. “That’s all I do is go to work and take care of my kids. That’s all I do.”
Though she said the incident was embarrassing, she said she wasn’t going to point blame at anyone. “I never set blame on anybody for anything because at the end of the day nobody left my kids in the hotel but me,” Bell said. “I’ve cried a couple of times since this situation started. I’m just trying to keep a level head and trying to stay strong because that’s all I can do.”
Despite the criticisms she received from a section of people for her actions, Bell said she was taken aback by the support she is receiving. “A lot of people are saying hurtful things, but a lot of people are also being there for me and showing great support. I have over $100,000 in a GoFundMe account right now. I didn’t ask for that, but people gave it to me, and I’m just over appreciative to what’s going on,” she said.
Bell’s story and the plight mothers face in the country were also highlighted by Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego. “Women are dammed if they do or damned if they don’t. Stay at home with your kids and receive government assistance and you are a leach, go to work for poverty wages and can’t get consistent sitters and go to jail,” he tweeted February 14.