Rockford may be a small city (or big town?) but there are instances of a "big city" feel, in this instance, it's panhandling.

As a kid, I remember asking my brother why people were sitting on the streets asking for money. I also remember the sadness I felt after witnessing homelessness in person. That feeling still hits me today.

As I got older I began to wonder about the circumstances surrounding a person asking for money from passersby, also known as panhandling. Then came the thought of, "Is this legal?" Don't misconstrue my question because there is no malice behind it.

During the pandemic, it appeared as though there are more frequent panhandlers than in years past. I see panhandlers literally every day during my commute, primarily at East State Street and Alpine Road and in front of Forrest Plaza in Rockford.

When searching for an official answer to the legality of panhandling in Rockford, and Illinois as a whole, I stumbled upon WREX's addition of 6th Street and State Street and Alpine and Riverside to the list of hotspots. The report included an interesting quote by the Homeless Program Coordinator for Rockford's Human Services Department, Angie Walker.

We've also obviously been trying to figure out what their situations are to find out if the people are in fact homeless or they're out trying to get extra income.

In short, panhandling is legal in Illinois.

If you know a family or individual in need of help, here is a directory of services available in the Rockford area.

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JB Love is ½ of  Q98.5's Lil Zim & JB In The Morning, weekday mornings from 5:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram.

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[h/t WREX]