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by Abigail Van Buren

Couple Says Thanks but No Thanks to Offer of Food

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are dealing with a terminal health condition, and many folks have offered to help, particularly in the area of providing meals, which we really appreciate. Recently, a family from our church brought us over a meal that included a nice entree, dessert, bread and breakfast pastries, all homemade. We enjoyed the entree, but quickly lost our appetites after opening the dessert to find a hair of unknown origin in it. We were, unfortunately, unable to enjoy the rest of the food because of this.

My dilemma is how to handle this with the family. I'm sure we will see them at church, and they have already reached out asking when they can bring us another meal. I don't want to embarrass anyone, but neither do I think I can consume another one from them.

For what it's worth, we have someone who comes in weekly who prepares meals for us (whom we pay). This has been a huge help because it alleviates the time and effort required to shop, cook and clean up for most of the work week because I work full time as well as care for my husband. How can I tactfully decline this family's kind offers without coming right out and saying why we don't want their food? -- GROSSED OUT IN THE WEST

DEAR GROSSED OUT: It should not embarrass those nice people if you thank them for offering to send you more food, and tell them you no longer need food because you have hired someone who comes in and cooks for you. It's short, sweet and it's the truth.

Read more in: Health & Safety | Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics