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by Abigail Van Buren

Single Dad Never Pitches In at Neighborhood Potlucks

DEAR ABBY: My family is surrounded by neighbors who are all friendly. We have cookouts together regularly. Everyone contributes to the budget and food preparation except one neighbor. He's a single dad of 12-year-old twins, and they show up to every BBQ without bringing a dish or their own drinks, yet they all eat heartily. We have run out of food for the intended participants (who paid for the food) because of them. What's the best way to handle this situation without making an enemy of a neighbor? -- FED UP WITH FREELOADING

DEAR FED UP: Your neighbor may not be clear about the rules. It shouldn't earn you an enemy for life if you point out to this single dad of twins (with growing appetites) that these get-togethers are potluck, which means everyone is expected to contribute to the cost of the food as well as bring a side dish so the food won't run out. Tell him what to bring. They should also help with the setup and cleanup. If he's uncooperative after that, he's a moocher and you all will be well rid of him if he takes offense.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Money