Panhandler Sandwich Board Initiative Expands
Four more organizations have signed on for an initiative that pays former panhandlers to walk around New Bedford with sandwich board advertisements.
Places To Go Owner Ed Pacheco, who began the initiative, told WBSM's Brian Thomas that the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, the Bew Bedford Police Union, Office Technology Group, and the George Kirby Jr. Paint Company have recently signed on to participate in the initiative.
Pacheco says their participation will give the former panhandlers more opportunity to earn money.
"These guys are going to go from, you know, two days a week now to four, possibly five days a week," said Pacheco "so that they now have no need to, on a personal level, go out and panhandle."
As the program begins to see growth Pacheco also discussed complaints that the program is little more than a handout, saying that is untrue.
"These gentlemen, on their own volition, showed up at my office door after being offered a position," said Pacheco "nobody dragged them here, noone forced them to come here, they came here on their own volition, filled out an application, and accepted the job."
What's more Pacheco says there have been certain locations, such as the area near the intersection of Route 6 and Route 140, where the presence of his workers has made it more difficult for panhandlers.
"They got so frustrated because people were not giving them donations, because they saw my guys standing there working, that they got so frustrated they just walked off the corners and left," said Pacheco.
The initiative has also seen tremendous online growth with Pacheco saying that links about the project have received more than 30,000 views.