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How One Arizona Mother Used Crowdsourcing To Make Ends Meet Amid Government Shutdown


The partial shutdown of the U.S. government is now the longest in history - 22 days. President Trump still insists on $5.7 billion to build a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats say no, and the president says he won't declare a national emergency at the border yet.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I'm not going to do it so fast because this is something Congress should do. And we're waiting for the Democrats to vote. They should come back and vote.

SIMON: Friday was payday for federal workers but not for almost a million who've been furloughed. We spoke with Jo Ann Goodlow, a mother of three from Phoenix who works for the Bureau of Land Management there and says that prolonged shutdown is hard on her family.

JO ANN GOODLOW: I've just kind of done without paying certain bills because I have to put money aside for the things that are more important. Utilities are more important than paying a credit card bill.

SIMON: Yeah.

GOODLOW: And my 17-year-old, he know - I know he needs lunch money for school. But some days, he doesn't get lunch money, unfortunately. And I know that's not good because he has to eat. He's on the basketball team. I mean, I try to support him - whatever sport that he does. But I make the decisions not to go to the games. I'm not going to waste gas money and follow him. And you just got to pick and choose on what you can and can't do.

SIMON: This must hurt you to not be able to afford lunch for one of your children.

GOODLOW: It does. And he understands. I know he understands. And I know - and it's going to get better. It's going to get better. But as - you know, I - you have to just make a decision on what you can and can't do. You know, I pick up my 6-year-old from school. And he's like, Mom, can we stop and get a snack? Not today. We're not going to do that today. Let's do that some other time. We have to pick and choose now. And, you know, the - my 6 and 4-year-old, they're two that I adopted. And now I feel like I'm not giving them the life they need because here I am without a paycheck. And I brought them from a - their home where they weren't getting what they needed. And now I can't give them what they need.

SIMON: Now, Ms. Goodlow, you sound like a great mother to me.

GOODLOW: Right now, I don't feel like a great mother.

SIMON: I gather you've had to turn to crowdsourcing to try and make ends meet.

GOODLOW: Yes. And that was a last resort because I'm so independent. That is something that I never would have ever done because I always feel that there is someone out there that needs it more than me. And when I set it up, I didn't even go live with it on anything. I was like, I don't want to put it on Facebook. I don't want to do anything with it. I'm like if someone sees it, then OK. That's fine. And I sat in my room that night. And I think I had been up for, like, five hours. And I finally said I'm just going to hit Twitter because nobody really knows me on Twitter. And it just so happened that my son's high school - the basketball account, they saw it. That's when it blew up. And I just - I cried because I didn't think that it would be that much support because I just - I was afraid of what people would think.

SIMON: Yeah.

GOODLOW: But this is reality that, you know, I don't know how I'm going to pay my mortgage, you know, without a paycheck, how I'm going to pay my car payment, my utilities, you know. I don't know. And I just feel so blessed that there's people out there that really care.

SIMON: Jo Ann Goodlow is a mother of three in Phoenix, and she works for the Bureau of Land Management when there's not a shutdown. Thank you for what you do for the American people. Good luck.

GOODLOW: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
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