Dear Abby: Because my 90-year-old mother is homebound, she qualifies for a meal program through a senior charity service. The program is free of charge for those in need. She didn't like some of the meals, so she asked me to give them to my father-in-law, "Louis."
Louis is 88. He still drives and is well-off, so he doesn't qualify for the program, but he accepted the meals that were offered. My mother has now decided she can no longer eat any of these meals, so I told her we should discontinue the program.
When I mentioned it to my wife, she became very upset with me, saying her father appreciated those meals. I reminded her that her father is able to drive himself to the supermarket and buy frozen dinners similar to what is being provided through the service. My wife is so angry she now says she will never again share any leftovers with my mother. It's an understatement to say this situation has created a major fight between us.
Is my wife correct in being upset about my discontinuing the meal service?
-- Charity Begins At Home
Dear Charity: It wasn't wrong to offer the meals that had already been delivered to your mother to your father-in-law after she rejected them. They probably could not have been redistributed to other seniors by the food program at that point.
But to continue your mother's food service while redirecting them to someone who is not in need is dishonest. It's stealing necessary resources from people who truly need them.
Because your wife is upset, she should contact the agency that provides the meals, or another agency that serves seniors, and see if her father qualifies. But she shouldn't punish you for refusing to go along with a deception.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.