Chain letter displeases Bea Gaddy

October 20, 1992|By Laura Lippman | Laura Lippman,Staff Writer

Homeless advocate Bea Gaddy says she is not too happy about a mysterious chain letter that urges people to mail donations to her post office box before copying the letter and sending it on to three friends.

Over the past 10 days, the one-page plea with the heading "Pumpkins, Pennies and Poor Folks" has been showing up in local mail boxes. Ms. Gaddy yesterday said the original chain letter was drafted and mailed without her knowledge and permission.

"I'm a professional beggar, but I would never ask for money that way," said Ms. Gaddy, one of the city's best-known homeless advocates.

"My thing is, had I needed money that bad, I would have gone straight to the public."

Ms. Gaddy learned of the letter from a citizen who phoned her to ask whether it was all right to mail a donation.

The situation has left her wondering whether her mystery solicitor is well-intentioned or intent on damaging her reputation.

The chain letter states that Ms. Gaddy is not aware of the solicitation.

It urges recipients to "give just $1, $5 or even $10 and spend another 81 cents [sic] for the three postage stamps needed to mail a copy of this letter to three more friends."

The checks, payable to Ms. Gaddy, are to be sent to "Snowball," a unexplained designation that Ms. Gaddy said holds no special meaning for her. So far, no checks have arrived for Snowball and Ms. Gaddy says that any donations so marked will be returned.

While chain letters seeking money or other items of value are usually illegal, the U.S. Postal Service says this one is within the law, because the sender is not trying to profit by it.

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