STOCKTON (CBS13) — A Stockton woman went above and beyond for a homeless mother and her small child who weren’t allowed inside a local restaurant.
She posted about the situation on social media and got backlash from some people about her decision. Tamera Aragon said when she met Marcie and her 6-year-old son Mario, all Marcie asked for was food for her son.
“She was just very polite and very humble. Nothing for her,” Aragon said.
In a Facebook post, Aragon said she had gone to Manny’s California Fresh on Pacific Avenue with her daughter to get lunch. They met Marcie and Mario in the parking lot and offered to get them some food, but when the Aragons walked in the restaurant with Marcie and Mario, the management reportedly began yelling at Marcie to get out.
Aragon said she and other customers were upset by how the employees and management handled the situation.
Aragon said Marcie’s humility and love for her son were inspiring. Marcie told CBS13 she and her son haven’t had a safe place to stay in a long time.
“My son and I have been through so many tough times..in the cold, sleeping outside,” she said.
Marcie is escaping an abusive relationship and asked to keep her and her son’s last names private. She thought a cycle of no food, no shelter and no hope would never end.
“I was looking for a miracle all the time and Tamera was my miracle. Thank you so much,” Marcie said.
Aragon started a GoFundMe and was able to get the family clothes and a hotel. The next step is to find long term housing. Aragon said she called several shelters in Stockton but none had openings. A shelter in Lodi had an opening, but going there would force Mario to switch schools.
Aragon documented her efforts on social media, facing supportive and critical feedback. She said some doubt the homeless can be helped.
“I guess tough is holding back when people are so angry, using four-letter words about what I’m doing,” Aragon said.
Jo Rimmer, a director at the Stockton Shelter for the homeless, has also been homeless herself. She said she loves to see people helping the homeless, but the effort can be a catch-22 and there’s a reason to be cautious.
“If they’re on that roller coaster towards homelessness or have been on it or are chronically homeless per se, more than three times in the last three years, then that means you’re actually going to ride that roller coaster with them,” Rimmer said.
Aragon said that’s why she’s so involved, she doesn’t want to see Marcie lose her son.
“I’m very confident in this lady and I’m very excited about her future right now,” Aragon said.
According to county data from this year, there are an estimated 330 homeless children in San Joaquin County. Marcie’s goal is to make sure her son is no longer part of that group.
“Motivation for my son. I have to go forward. I can’t go backwards,” she said.
So far, Aragon has raised more than $1,000 for this family and all of the money is going toward their basic necessities. She hopes her random act of kindness inspires others.
If you would like to donate to Aragon’s Go Fund Me campaign for Marcie and Mario, here’s a link.