Recently I have fallen on very hard times.

I am a single mother of a 19-year-old college attendee and I am also in school full time. I applied for food stamps with DSS and was denied because I do not work. This while others who are doing nothing to better themselves so as eventually not to need help can utilize this benefit.

I am putting myself in bigger debt, owing the federal government the money I need to secure a better future. Not even while I’m taking on this debt can assistance be provided to make the landing softer. I’m disappointed in my state. I love Connecticut, but by having such provisions we are leaving behind critical pieces to helping the state as a whole prosper. If Connecticut would provide assistance to us, the struggling students, I feel it would be mutually beneficial. It would attract more students, more graduates would become permanent residents, and more students equal more spending.

I’m frustrated and hope that readers can understand on a personal level. It breaks my heart every time I cannot provide my son the money or food he needs. I feel at that moment like I failed as a parent.

I look around and everyone I know has been affected financially. Some are in what I would consider a crisis. I have never understood how some are dining on steak while there are others eating sardines out the can – the funny thing is they’re standing right next to each other.

Hartford does help its residents and those of surrounding areas as well. Many programs like Hands on Hartford, the Salvation Army and Gifts of Love help us. They see the need and fight to feed. Their food pantries have kept me fed.

My love for my city is deep, I love Connecticut and all its gems. I’m just having difficulty understanding how I’ve worked all my life, state and medical taxes have always been deducted, and now that I’m not paying those taxes and need help from my state, I’m irrelevant.

So from your neighbor, I’m hungry – we’re hungry – and change is needed.

Yelitza Mulero is a student in Hartford.