Campaign for Homeless Mom Who Left Kids in Car During Job Interview Raises $99,000
I’ve never left my sons alone in a car—I can’t imagine doing so for any reason. But it's hard to look at the tearful mug shot of 35-year-old Phoenix resident Shanesha Taylor and not feel sympathy. On March 20 the single, homeless mom was charged with two counts of child abuse after leaving her two-year-old and six-month-old unattended in a vehicle while she went to a job interview.
Turns out that plenty of other Americans don’t condone Taylor’s actions either—but they empathize with her situation. Amanda Bishop, a 24-year-old from New Jersey, is one of them. The day after she heard of Taylor’s arrest, Bishop set up a fund-raising campaign on YouCaring.com. She hoped to raise $9,000, enough to cover Taylor’s bail costs, but an outpouring of generosity has led to more than $99,000 being donated.
On the crowdfunding site Bishop wrote that she’s “struggling like Shanesha,” and “an economy like ours is putting many single mothers in a position to make many terrible mistakes like this.”
“My daughter worked as a nurse on night shift, and one time as she went out to the parking lot, she saw a few very young children in cars,” one woman wrote on Bishop’s Facebook page. “She never reported it. How could she? Their mothers were inside working.”
There are very few options for affordable child care in the U.S.—even parents who work full-time struggle with finding a place that's reliable, safe, and won't break the bank. And with homelessness predicted to get worse in 2014, more moms and dads may end up in the same situation as Taylor.
Critics say that it doesn't matter—you still don't make a terrible choice like leaving kids in a car. On her Facebook page Bishop wrote that people have even asked her why she hasn’t “set up a fund to help the children of fallen soldiers or [police officers] or a fund to help seniors buy food and medicine?”—people who aren’t making "bad decisions."
Nevertheless, wrote Bishop, the response from donors has restored her faith in humanity. “Too often we are divided by political agenda, religion, ignorance, and just plain hate,” she wrote. “This is just example to me that good hearts are still out there. Just give 'em a reason to rise and they will.”
A Change.org petition asking Maricopa County prosecutors to drop the charges against Taylor has received more than 11,000 signatures. “Her desperation to provide for herself and her children and her lack of options led her to take drastic measures in search of employment,” wrote the petition's author, Chicago resident Mariame Kaba. “Taylor needs support & help rather than incarceration and a criminal record that will surely decrease her chances to provide for her children in the future."
Meanwhile, Taylor pleaded not guilty at her April 7 arraignment and awaits trial.