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PHOENIX — A mother, who gained national attention for leaving her children in a hot car while she interviewed for a job, said her decision was made in a true moment of desperation.

In an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show on Thursday, Shanesha Taylor said she had to make a choice to provide for her children.

Police say Taylor, 35, left her two sons in her Dodge Durango for 45 minutes while in a job interview at a Farmers Insurance office in Scottsdale, Ariz., in March. Taylor told police she was jobless, without child care that day and had occasionally been homeless.

In the interview she said she had arranged for someone to care for her children, but those plans fell through at the last minute.

"I had to make a choice between providing for my children and caring for my children," she said.

In that moment, which she described as one of desperation, she decided she needed to provide food and shelter for her children above all, she said.

After capturing the attention of people nationwide, Taylor received support donations of nearly $115,000, which, as part of an agreement with the Maricopa County attorney, is placed in a trust fund to pay for her children's educations, said her attorney Benjamin Taylor, who appeared with her on the show.

Lauer characterized Taylor as somewhat of a figure of the American working poor.

Taylor said she understands families in crisis across the country and hopes people reach out to those that can help, such as non-profits that are filling the gaps in government aid, she said.

Last week, Taylor reached a plea deal in which prosecutors agreed to dismiss the child-abuse charges she faced if she successfully completes parenting and substance-abuse classes and establishes education and child-care trusts for each of her three children.

At this point, Taylor said she is battling to regain custody of her children, who she now only sees on the weekend.

Contributing: Megan Finnerty, The Arizona Republic

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