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Friends, strangers helping single Phoenix mother get through shutdown

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – With a steady job in the federal government, the last thing one single mother in Phoenix expected to have to do to get by was sell her plasma.

But Jo Ann Goodlow, who works for the Bureau of Land Management, has sold plasma to keep her family afloat during the partial government shutdown.

She already has a part-time job and is about to start another one.

“I’m not sitting at home doing nothing,” the mother of three told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos on Wednesday, the 26th day of furloughs for hundreds of thousands of federal employees.

Making ends meet still has been a struggle for Goodlow.

“You kind of put things off because you think … we’re going to be OK, but realistically, it wasn’t going to be OK,” she said.

Her last federal paycheck was issued over the holidays.

“The bills are coming in and you’re looking at them, wondering, ‘How am I going to pay this,’ ‘How am I going to pay that?’ Everything just started piling up.”

A week ago, Goodlow reluctantly set up a GoFundMe account.

“I didn’t want people to know. … I don’t ask for help from anybody because I do for myself.

“(But) I needed to do something.”

So far givers have raised a little more than $16,000. Goodlow’s goal had been $5,000.

“It’s been so overwhelming. I’m very grateful,” she said.

The first flow of kindness came from the parents of her 17-year-old son’s teammates and friends at Pinnacle High.

Her son had been been having problems with his wisdom teeth. Other parents paid for the dental work.

“The support was amazing.”

The public appeal also has drawn blowback.

Commenters have questioned Goodlow’s motives in setting up the page.

“That part hurts. I haven’t even touched any of the money. The bills are just sitting here right now,” she said.

Seeing some of the negative comments, she said, “My first response is refund the money back to everyone and just let everything I have go.”

But besides her high schooler, Goodlow is also the breadwinner to a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old.

“We’ve cut back pretty much on everything. We don’t live lavishly,” she said.

Goodlow has asked that visitors to her online fundraiser consider donating to another family struggling through the shutdown.

Mac & Gaydos

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