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DEAR ABBY: You told a woman that if reconciliation with her estranged son is not successful, she and her husband can leave their money to their favorite charity or to their local animal shelter.

A few years ago, I might have said the same thing. But my drive to work takes me through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, where hundreds of men, women and children live, scrounge through trash cans for garbage to eat, and warm themselves by bonfires they light in the street at night. I've seen grown men using the streets for a public restroom, with looks of anguish and great embarrassment on their faces as I drive by.

Given the awesome task of helping such people, it grieves me to think of people with money to give away donating it to animals. The number of children without food, people without jobs and families without homes is growing daily, and it appears that the government isn't going to do much about it at the moment. -- FEMALE EXECUTIVE

DEAR EXECUTIVE: Must one make a choice? I would hope the human heart would be big enough to provide ample food and shelter for all God's living creatures. But in a country as wealthy as ours, for people to be scrounging in trash cans for garbage to eat is a national disgrace.

DEAR ABBY: I have decided to end our marriage. The reason for our divorce is my wife's marital indiscretions. We are well known in town, and our family and close friends were utterly shocked when they heard the news.

My problem: I do not want anyone thinking that I have been a less-than-decent, caring husband and father. There was no wrongdoing on my part. My wife, although appearing to be a very decent, moral woman, chose to ignore her vows to "forsake all others," if you get my drift -- and I think you do.

I do not wish publicly to slander her, but mutual friends are treating me somewhat coldly because I initiated the divorce.

At the present time, I am not speaking to my wife, which is perceived as being cruel; however, I feel that this is appropriate in light of her indiscretions.

So, should I remain silent and try to ignore my friends' cold shoulders? -- MR. X

DEAR MR. X: Whether you want to speak to your wife is your own business, but for you to "let people know" that she violated her marriage vows will make you look like a cad. It is almost impossible to throw dirt on someone without getting a little on yourself.

This one's for everybody, from teens to seniors! To purchase Abby's new booklet, "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It," send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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