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Writer makes begging \'gimmick\' signs

May 24 2009
Bestselling writer Gay Talese is handing out panhandling signs in New York A bestselling writer in the US has started a grassroots campaign to help people who beg benefit from President Obama's economic stimulus package. In the streets of New York, Gay Talese is handing out panhandling signs (pictured) that read: "Please support Pres Obama's Stimulus Plan. Begin right here... at the bottom... Thank you." In a recent interview with the New York Post, Mr Talese said: "The people at the bottom of the social register, they're constantly in the recession. This is a little gimmick that may help them earn a few more dollars." He hit upon the 'gimmick' one day as he walked past a man holding a sign that said "Homeless. Please Help''. "I dropped a dollar into his container, but at the same time thought that the sign might benefit from updating - it needed a touch of stimulus, that word that dominates the headlines," Mr Talese wrote in his blog. He then wrote the phrase on a strip of laundry board. The panhandler promised to have it on display the following day. Later, Mr Talese printed the words in large type and distributed copies to panhandlers who approached him. "I took down the names and phone numbers of many of my street clients. All said they would display the signs I made for them, and ‚Äö?Ѭ? I telephoned a few to ask if the message had yet had any effect. Most said it was too early to tell. But all were hopeful," wrote Mr Talese. One man told the writer that after reading the sign, passersby stopped to discuss it with him, and that he had made $10-$20 more than usual.