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Arizonans reach out to struggling mom waiting for unemployment

$5 to her name while waiting for unemployment
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Posted at 4:42 AM, Sep 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-07 09:29:34-04

She knew her bank account balance down to the penny. She's a single Arizona mom waiting weeks for her unemployment pay.

Like many of you, Andrea Bart says she isn't getting help from the Arizona Department of Security. But she's now getting a lot of help from Arizonans who heard her story.

After ABC15 aired her story, dozens of people emailed and called wanting to donate to Andrea's family, help feed her dogs and give her a job.

"I can't even put into words. You feel all alone out there. It's like there's no help for you," Andrea says after we told her of the outpouring.

What a difference a day has made for Andrea and her son.

Just 24 hours earlier, she was another victim. She was telling me how her cleaning business dried up when the pandemic began.

She says her account with the state's Department of Economic Security seems frozen in the same position, and Andrea is being forced to make some tough decisions.

One of them involves the dogs she rescued. She doesn't know how she can continue to afford to take care of them. But she says the shelters she contacted won't take them. "They will probably be put down because they are pit bulls. It breaks my heart. They are family. I don't even know what to tell my son," Andrea says.

While DES still hasn't contacted Andrea, after her story aired, dozens of other people did reach out. They're all trying to help someone who wants the opportunity to work and a little help getting back on her feet.

Debbie Clem wants to donate dog food and money.

"I'm a nurse. What can I say," she tells me. "At times I can help someone out, I'm the one that gets the gift."

Shawn Pearson, CEO of two Phoenix non-profits with two large buildings, says she can use Andrea's cleaning services. "She said she's willing to do anything and that struck a chord for me," Shawn says.

Vada Lesueur emailed saying, "I've been there." She says her company is hiring, not for cleaning, but for training and a possible online job. Vada says, "let's get you moving forward a little bit."

Then there's an email that came in from Angie Bird. "We finally got our unemployment yesterday. I don't have a lot to spare, but if there is a way I can send her $100, please let me know," Angie wrote.

All of it was too much for Andrea.

"I just can't even put into words," she says. "It's embarrassing. You don't want to tell people you have nothing... It kind of has the stigma attached. Just to see this generosity, it makes me know people know I'm a good person. I just fell on some bad times."

We sent Andrea's information to DES. They have said in the past they do not comment on individual cases.

Thanks to everyone who reached out. We are sending all of your emails, calls and comments to Andrea. Expect to hear from her, and possibly from us, as we move forward.

If you have similar concerns, email rebound@abc15.com.