Came across this story on the home page of Etiquette Hell. The Admin's response is in italics:
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
There are several online meal organizers/calendars now available and I think they are great! TakeThemAMeal.com and MealTrain.com are two of my favorites.
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.
Personally, I disagree with the Admin's response. I think the OP had every right to choose not to spend her time and money with this meal service after being treated so rudely by the older woman opening the door. The OP handled the situation correctly by informing the organizers about the woman's complaint and then volunteering her time for another service in the church that suited her better.
If this was my first experience to help out with this meal service and the person receiving the help snapped rudely at me for something that wasn't my fault, I would have probably quit too- not just because of the rudeness but also due the nature of the complaint it sounds like this organization isn't being run very well. Not something I would want to continue to be a part of. If I volunteer my personal time and money towards a cause, I don't expect the people receiving the help to fall over me with thanks or even to say "thank you" but I will not participate if I'm consistently being verbally attacked by entitled individuals. That just kills the joy of volunteering for me.
I realize that the older woman may have been under some stress due the illness of her loved one, but in my book that is still no excuse to lash out at people that are trying to offer their time and help. I've been in similar situations when my husband was very ill and I could get upset more easily at times, however I was never ugly to anyone that offered to help- that person didn't know that many friends had already given me food, offered rides to the hospital, etc. It got frustrating at times to tell people constantly that I am doing okay at the moment, but in grand scheme of things this was a "frustration" that I was kind of thankful to have. It showed how many people were thinking of us. If I snapped at them, then hubby and I would find ourselves facing the situation alone.