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The Story of an International Student

Facing Hunger in Manhattan, Kansas

In January, my wife, newborn son, and I came to Manhattan, Kansas from Mexico. We got here thinking we could survive on the money I had saved up, but that was a big mistake on my part. There is a guideline on the K-State website that shows the cost of living, but when I got here, wow! Let’s just say grad students’ tuition is ridiculous. We were able to live off of the little bit of savings for about a month and a half until it was completely gone. My family doesn’t have health insurance and it’s just really tough when you have to pay for a child and pediatrician out of pocket. Thankfully, the Riley County Health Department referred us to the Flint Hills Community Clinic.

I use the Breadbasket once a week to provide for my family. I receive a grad student stipend because I’m working in the Ph.D. program here at the vet school and I also have applied to several scholarships in Mexico. Unfortunately, I cannot apply for scholarships here because I would have to be a citizen. If you want to be depressed, just take a look at my pay stub. I’m living off of $1,800 a month with a wife, kid, electric bills, apartment rent, tuition, gas, and pediatrician emergencies.

Being an international student, I see things quite a bit different than the people who live here. I find it really incredible that this country has so much to offer, yet people in this country need this kind of help or don’t have a job. I understand that it is different for everybody and we all have our stories, but there are a lot of opportunities to get a job. I’ve been here for two months and I’ve already seen so many opportunities. I think that people either don’t quite realize it or they are just too comfortable where they are now that they don’t want to look anywhere else.

Programs like the Breadbasket are truly amazing. If I could, I would want to thank every single person in the community who donates to help people like my family and I. If people are able to help in the future, I think they should. I know that I will be more than willing to help when I get the opportunity, because I have been in this position of need and it would be a great way to pay it forward and say thank you.

As told to Laton Heger

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