A GoFundMe campaign to help establish a safe and permanent home for the young mom and her children raised over $165k in a week with public figures of the likes of Pierre "Pee" Thomas and Cleveland Cavalier Javale Mcgee making significant contributions to the fund.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 22, 2021. It has since been updated.
Thousands of sympathetic netizens rallied in support of a single mother of three who was arrested on charges of child endangerment for allegedly leaving her young kids alone in a motel room while she went to work. According to 21 News, 24-year-old Shaina Bell from Ohio was charged with two counts of child endangering after officers acting on a tip found her 10-year-old and 3-year-old daughters in a Liberty Township motel after 6 p.m. The eldest child reportedly informed the cops that Bell was working a shift at a Little Caesars pizzeria and was expected to be back by 10 p.m. that night.
The officers turned the children over to their father and tracked Bell down at her workplace, where she informed them that she usually has someone check in on her children every hour while she is at work. She was still booked into the Trumbull County jail and charged with two counts of endangering children — a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a possible maximum sentence of six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000. Bell pleaded not guilty to the charges against her at a hearing in Girard Municipal Court and was released on bail Friday.
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. https://t.co/9NJxEPgCFs— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) February 15, 2021
Bell's story quickly struck a chord with netizens across the country, many of whom have struggled to maintain jobs and find child care amid the pandemic. After receiving an outpour of messages from people wanting to help, Bell's mother, Danielle Hosey, set up a GoFundMe campaign to help establish a safe and permanent home for the young family. The campaign raised over $165k in a week with public figures of the likes of Pierre "Pee" Thomas and Cleveland Cavalier Javale Mcgee making significant contributions to the fund.
QC co founder Pierre Thomas donated $10,000 to 24 year old Ohio mother Shaina Bell who was arrested for going to work & leaving her 10 & 2 year olds in a motel. She has raised over $50,000 pic.twitter.com/ndXoyhKBn6— Saycheese TV 👄🧀 (@SaycheeseDGTL) February 16, 2021
Explaining why he donated $10k to the cause, Thomas wrote on Instagram: "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." Speaking to WKBN about her three children – Faith, Jai’Sean, and Jade, ages 9, 7, and 3 — and the outpouring of support, Bell said: "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. That's all I do is go to work and take care of my kids. That's all I do."
I started babysitting my siblings when I was 8, and in the neighborhood when I turned 10. This story infuriates me. She is doing what she can to keep her family intact and safe. If you feel compelled to donate: Help Shaina Bell Rebuild her Children's Life https://t.co/FaxjOXrszU— MommaFinch64 (@MFinch64) February 17, 2021
As a poor, divorced mom in NY. I HAD to do this whilst I worked 3 jobs. I had my son’s meals prepared. His instructions were clear. He was 7. I had to get permission to take him with me to nite RN school from the Prof,if he had said no, I would not be a RN today. I feel her pain— PT (@twumpat) February 15, 2021
"I had to go to work," Bell said of the day of her arrest. "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." Although she has faced a fair share of criticism since news of her arrest gained nationwide attention, Bell is choosing to take a positive outlook on the matter.
“My kids bring me joy. They make me laugh. They’re my world”— Max Towey (@MaximilianTowey) February 22, 2021
“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”
What a touching story #shainabell #shaina pic.twitter.com/A66obJMqQ3
"I never set blame on anybody for anything because at the end of the day nobody left my kids in the hotel but me," she 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. 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 [of] what's going on."