My previous church had a program where volunteers could bring cooked meals to sick or bereaved parishioners. There was an on-line calendar where we could sign up to ensure we were not duplicating efforts and that the recipients had a delivery of food each day. I signed up to help one family where the mother was sick. I arrived on the correct day, walked up to the house bearing my gifts and rang the bell.
After a couple of minutes a lady, about the right age to be the sick parishioner’s mother or aunt, opened the door. She fixed me with an angry glare and loudly snapped, “I TOLD the church, we don’t need any more food”. I was taken aback and was wondering if it would be polite to take the food away with me, and if I did, what my husband was going to think of eating lasagna and apple crisp for the next four or five days. Fortunately I did not have to worry over this for too long. With a loud sigh the woman declared, “Oh well, I suppose we’ll take it”, and took the food trays into the house and closed the door.
I went home and wrote a polite e-mail to the meal organizer suggesting she contact the sick parishioner to confirm whether or not any more food was needed. You will be happy to hear that the parishioner had made a full recovery.
After that I confined my volunteer efforts to weeding the church parking lot and trimming the trees. I’d rather deal with thorny creatures of the plant variety than the human ones. 0728-12
I think your response of backing out entirely from any further meal contributions is a little overly dramatic. The older woman does not appear to even be a member of your congregation and therefore her behavior should not reflect poorly on the sick congregant’s entire family or on every person who gets sick. And one does not know what stresses have been weighing on her which led her to express her exasperation. At most, I think I would have been hesitant about signing up to bring meals to that particular family in the future and certainly not written off the entire congregation as unworthy of receiving any more food from me.