Update (February 22, 2021)Ohio mother Shaina Bell addressed the love and hate she's received following an incident involving her children in an exclusive interview with 27 First News Trumbull County.

Bell left her two daughters at a Motel 6 where she has been living in order to go to her job at Little Caesars. She was arrested at her job after her child’s father reported her to the police. 

“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 told the local news outlet.

She spoke glowingly of her children and said the reason why she took her job at the pizza parlor was so that she could support her children. She defended herself against attacks she’s received from people online but also acknowledged that she understood why many were mad.

After her child’s father called the police on her, she was charged with two misdemeanor charges of endangering children and ended up spending one night in jail.

“I never set blame on anybody for anything because at the end of the day nobody left my kids in the hotel but me. 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,” she said, adding that while she has received a lot of hateful messages, many people did contact her to offer support. 

She did note that there was a happy ending to her story. 

Thanks to a GoFundMe page set up for her, she now has more than $100,000, which she plans to spend on a new home for her and her children. 

“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,” Bell said.

The GoFundMe page has now been stopped after topping $165,000.

Original (February 17, 2021): Thousands of supporters have come to the aid of a Black mother who was arrested last week in Ohio after leaving her children in a motel room while she went to work at a pizza shop.

On Thursday, police arrested Shaina Bell, 24, after they received a tip that the woman’s children, a 10-year-old girl and her 2-year-old sister, were left unattended at a Motel 6, according to local news station WFMJ. When police first located Bell at the pizza restaurant, she said that she has someone regularly check in on the children while she’s at work.

The mother was charged with two counts of child endangerment but has since pleaded not guilty to the charges and is out on bail until her court hearing in April.

The children were placed in the custody of their father, WFMJ reports.

As news of the woman’s plight spread, supporters have come out in droves to help Bell get her family back.

Earlier this week, a GoFundMe campaign was established to assist Bell and her children. In two days, the page has raised well over $80,000 for the family. The campaign page states that donations raised will go directly to “establishing a safe and permanent home” for her and her children.

One donor, Elizabeth Regan, wrote that she was once in a similar predicament to Bell but was safe from punishment due to her state's laws.

“I had to leave my twin 10 year olds and 1 year old [sic] at home while I worked, too. Thankfully there was no law against it in my state (I checked). I was 1/4 mile away and they had a phone, but I hated every second of it. It's impossible to find good child care sometimes,” she wrote.

On Monday, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) tweeted in support of Bell and criticized the work conditions affecting many mothers in the country.

“Women are dammed [sic] if they do or damned if they don’t,” Gallego wrote. “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.”

The Hill reported that the mother’s case has sparked conversations calling for universal child care. The incident comes at a time where advocacy groups have urged Congress to consider the needs of women and mothers in the COVID-19relief package, which includes raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Earlier this month, 80 of these progressive groups met with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about the dire position and great need of many women in the country.

Along with raising the minimum wage, the groups also called for $40 billion in funds for the child care industry in the package, which would further supplement the $10 billion grant program created in the December relief package. They also requested emergency paid leave benefits and $1,400 stimulus checks for individuals.

“The simple truth is that women, especially Black women, Latina women, Asian American and Pacific Islander women and Indigenous women, have suffered the worst impacts of the pandemic, and they need to be lifted up in the solutions and relief you draft and ultimately pass in Congress,” women’s advocacy groups NARAL Pro-Choice America, Ultraviolet, the Women’s March and others wrote earlier this month.