Rockford city leaders want to remind us all that there is a better way to help panhandlers than handing cash outside your car window.

A Tricky Panhandler Problem

It's hard to drive through any major intersection in the Rockford area these days without seeing a panhandler stationed there asking for money,  and this whole situation makes me incredibly uncomfortable. Why? Because seeing them makes me feel guilty and mad all at the same time. I truly want to help those that are less fortunate than me, but handing money outside my car window feels like the way wrong way to do it.

Jon Rehg
Jon Rehg

Turns out, some City of Rockford leaders agree.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, Anqunette Parham, Executive Director of Rockford's Health and Human Services Department, Sherry Pitney, CEO of Rockford Rescue Missio, Mike O’Connor, Executive Director of Carpenter’s Place, and Sarah Parker-Scanlon, Executive Director of Shelter Care, recently teamed up for an important reminder about the panhandling situation in our city that said in part;

 People tend to open their hearts and their wallets to those less fortunate during the holidays. This year, we encourage you to share your generosity with those organizations which create sustainable, long lasting change.

Important Things to Know About Panhandlers

Panhandling is becoming an increasing problem throughout the United States that federal courts have had to deal with several times and all ruled the same. Yes, people have the right to panhandle, just like you and I have the right to refuse to give panhandlers anything.

Another important thing to remember when giving money to a panhandler is; you are only providing a quick fix to a long-standing problem, and might just be making it worse.

The City of Rockford's recent letter has many important things to say, but here is what I think is the most important part...

Consider this - you give $12 to a panhandler and it may or may not be used for food or necessities. That same $12 given to the Rockford Rescue Mission can provide a person in need with a meal, a shower, a night of shelter and case management with rescue mission staff.


Meaningful donations can change a life, not just a day.

For more information on giving to the Rockford Rescue Mission today, please visit

City of Rockford Government via Facebook
City of Rockford Government via Facebook

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