Charitable conundrum: Family offered help we don't (totally) need


Yesterday, I received a phone call asking for "Mr. or Mrs. Hanson" -- my husband's last name, which I generally attribute to either telemarketers or those affiliated with the Army Reserves, for which he's a Specialist. The woman said she was with the American Legion, and wanted to talk about a gift basket. My first thought was that she wanted a donation -- but no. She wanted to give us a basket.

I'm not going to lie and say we're flush with cash, but I don't consider us to be in need of charity; we have a house with a mortgage we can (barely) afford, we pay our gas bill and power bill before the shut-off notices start coming, we buy organic produce from the farmer's market (though we trade off many things -- like entertainment and travel and home electronics -- so we can afford healthy, toxin-free food). For a split second, I thought about saying, "no! we don't need it silly!" but realized that would be rash at best, ungrateful and insulting at worst. I asked many of my friends their advice, and to a one, they told me I should accept the basket with grace and, if I didn't need what was inside, give it to someone else who did.

Now I'm looking forward to picking up the basket this weekend, and wondering how I'll decide to whom the contents should go; perhaps I'll visit a local nonprofit servicing homeless families, as this is one cause about which my heart really breaks (especially as my hometown is experiencing 10 days of a cold snap just in time for the holidays). But I'm wondering what WalletPoppers think: if you were offered charity, but felt you didn't totally need it, what would you do?