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Woman tries to help family in need, they say, 'okay, we want your coat.' AITA?

Woman tries to help family in need, they say, 'okay, we want your coat.' AITA?


No good deed goes unpunished.

That may be a harsh sentiment here, but that is how the OP felt. They were part of a charity organization that helped families struggling in their community for 5 years. All of that changed in one day. She volunteered to bring multiple bags of donated clothing to a family and was taken aback when they told her that isn't what they wanted.

Some people...


I'm part of a local donation group, so every now and then, I get asked to help with clothes donations. Someone passes away or downsizes, and I will help wash, fold, sort, and deliver the clothes to various free stores. Sometimes, if we are notified of someone in the community in need, we will deliver essentials like winter or kids clothing to their house.

We're just a group within the community -there is no religious, political or ulterior motive. We just spread extra through the community as needed as discreetly as possible to help out. This particular situation just hurts my head, and I'm still trying to figure out how it escalated the way it did.

So a few days ago there was a fire in our community which left 3 families displaced. We collected what we could in the sizes they needed, and off we went.

We dont ask for anything in return other than knowing the families are a little better off. We always apologize and explain that while they may not be they styles they're accustomed to (as donated clothing) but at least it is clean and warm.

If they had specific needs to let a member of the group know and we would do what we can. A lot of our collected items belonged to other families whose children outgrew the items. It's anonymous and it's a way for our more comfortable community members to help out others within the community with this. It's one thing I love about my community - people don't hesitate to help where needed.

I was given an address and head out as usual. Pull in, get the bags and coats to the door and knock.

After that... I'm not sure what to think. It started off as it usually does. There was a mother and 3 children, so I explain that there are 3 bags of clothing in the sizes submitted, and a box of age appropriate toys just like with the other families.

I thought I heard wrong when she said she preferred my coat and just said what?She called me rude and told me again,' This stuff is OK, but I want the coat you're wearing '.

When I told her, 'No, I'm sorry, but I just bought this coat she got angry and accused me of picking through donation bags for 'the good stuff.'

I've never run into this issue before. None of the group members are well off. In fact, that's why we do what we do. Because life is hard here and we believe in sharing what we have as a community. We collect good quality items from those with extra and distribute it freely to those that need it or have specific needs.

Sometimes we all take items from our own closets if they're needed more elsewhere. Last year we raised funds to help purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle for a family. The year before it was a young family whose matriarch was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

This year's cause is to build 4 'tiny homes' for the homeless in our community to use as needed. Our goal is to provide stability so they can successfully reintegrate during and after addiction rehabilitation. We all do what we can to try to help, basically. It's a hard world to feel alone in.

Now, my coat is expensive ( $250 ) but I've also saved gift cards for 2 years and anxiously watched for post-season sales before finally taking the plunge and got it for 75% off. Maybe I messed up by wearing it on this errand? I don't know. After I said no, this is my coat a second time, she started yelling at me. I just left the bags on the doorstep and drove away.

Today I wake up to a slew of texts from the group asking me to explain why I refused to give the mother any winter coats, and why I left everything at the end of the driveway... allegedly in a ditch? They aren't questioning. Most are downright accusatory. Some are just borderline mean.

It's the kind of day where I feel like giving up on this 'making the world a better place' thing.

I've been where these families are. And people helped me just like this. I know what it feels like to rely on others... so I do try to be compassionate and understanding without being condescending or pitying. I don't often talk about what I do because nobody needs to know what came from where, or who is getting what. It's just paying it forward. I do this because it's been done for me, and it's the right thing to do. It's that simple.

But after today... I don't even want to reply to anyone. It's not just that woman. It's the texts that are getting kinda nasty at this point. It's these people obviously talking about me behind my back. It's how quick they were to assume I must have done this.

I'm not sure if I want to do this anymore after all this. I've been part of this for 5 years and have never had a complaint before. I feel betrayed by people I thought were my friends. It just all feels gross, dramatic and depressing now, and that's now how this is supposed to feel.

I did text them as a group in bullet form stating facts only. The text read as follows:

  1. Items were carried to front door as per usual

  2. Client requested my personal attire

  3. Client accused me of theft from donation bags

  4. Client verbally abused me

  5. I left the following on Client's doorstep : ½ bag of women's clothing sizes m-l : 1+½ bag children's clothing sizes 3-8 : 1x bag of assorted linens & towels : 1x box of assorted children's toys and books.

'I am trying very hard to understand the context of some of the messages I've received about this, and am truly confused as to why anyone would think I would purposefully degrade a Client. You all know my history and reasons I participate.'

'As I feel I no longer have a place of trust within our group, I am formally resigning from my roles within the committee, and the (group) I will, with your blessing, remain on the Helping Tree as a contact.'

So far the replies are very interesting. They range from apologetic to accusatory to narcissistic. The most interesting one so far, I think, was not intended for me and insinuated that this was for the best. I can't believe how naive I've been.

There's an emergency meeting being scheduled for next week, as apparently you're not just allowed to resign mid-term from a board like this without a valid reason. Which I think I have.

The benefit of this is my accuser also has to give an official statement in the meeting minutes because ive resigned. Which I'm allowed to attend and comment on. Which adds validity ti my reasons for resigning.

Would it be petty if I wore my coat again, or should I choose something older? Genuinely asking. I don't want to make things worse. I just want out to do my own thing.

Rumors are already starting and seem to be in my favor. Small towns are terrific/terrible for that. And I've just been texted asking me to withdraw my resignation ' for fear this may cause an irreparable rift in our charitable group'.

I have 8 months left to my current term as Secretary. A position that requires the trust of the board members to record accurate notes. Which I no longer feel I have. I don't want my character unfairly questioned again after I've worked so damn hard to build it up. My resignation was intended to prevent drama and divide. It is doing the opposite.

What would you do? I feel like I'm damned if I do, and damned if I don't.

Here is what readers have to say:


I'm so sorry to hear it. The entitled woman is a nuisance but you handled her well... the real problem is that your colleagues believed her automatically without even asking you what happened. That's pretty awful.

I don't know if there's anything you can do to reconnect with them in a positive way after this, or if you even want to. I just wanted you to hear that you didn't do anything wrong and that they should never have jumped on you without checking into the facts first. I know you know it, but sometimes it can help to hear it from the outside, too. Best wishes.


Ah, small town politics and intrigue. Gotta love it when charity is taken over by self-absorbed sh*ts.


Having sat on small charity boards in the past, I believe every word of this. The amount of power building and clout sharking going on, especially when there's no monetary stakes, is wild.


Last March, my complex experienced a massive fire. 18 units were lost, including mine. The damage was so bad that I didn't get to keep anything except what I was wearing. Local charities are what got my neighbors and me through it. People who try to take advantage of that disgust me.


When I was 16, I found a wallet on the ground in a random parking lot. There many businesses their so i didn't know which one it could have come from. I was on the way to an event, and had to pass the police department to get there. I went 5 mins out of my way to just drop it off. I thought, oh I will just say I found it and go on my day.

They actually accused me of stealing the wallet. Told me I had to wait to talk to a detective. After 20 mins, I was going to be late. And I told this officer, I am never doing a nice thing again.

See a wallet, just leave it and walk over it. See a bad thing happening, just turn around and leave. I told them, I'm leaving. I realize now as an adult, they had no reason to hold me. And I should have opened the wallet and just gotten in touch with the guy.

It really taught me, no good dead goes unpunished. I still have done a lot of charity work, but it also reminded me to watch my back.

I kept water in my car and some energy bars. And 90% of people are appreciative but I'll get the one AH, that will be like I want money instead. Okay, this is what I am offering, take it or leave it.

Have you ever felt disappointed by the reaction you got when trying to do a good deed?

Sources: Reddit
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