One Family’s Story Shows How The Cycle Of Poverty Is Hard To Break

Desiree Metcalf’s story is heartbreaking, but among the 46 million Americans who are poor today, her story is not unique.

Metcalf is 24 years old.

She’s the mother of three little girls — ages 6, 4 and 2. They all have different fathers.

“That about sums me up, I think,” she says.

Metcalf is sitting on the floor of her two-bedroom apartment in the small town of Bath, in western New York. A fish tank gurgles in the background. A tiny kitten peeks out from under the furniture. Her youngest daughter is curled up under a blue blanket, head resting on her mother’s lap.

Metcalf got married two years ago to a man who isn’t the father of any of her children, but he recently left her for someone else.

“I just feel like I get one piece of good news that makes me [think] life isn’t gonna be that bad, and then here comes 30 things to basically push me right back down in this hole that I feel like I’ve been trying to dig myself out of for the last probably 15 years,” she says.


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