Date: April 20, 2013 10:20AM
It is a delicate and difficult issue, trying to point out to someone who is in a vulnerable state that what they're doing is perhaps not the best idea.
Right now, it would appear that her donations are serving to make her feel her grief less intensely.
What is her age? Did her husband die from a disease that she could make donations to a foundation dedicated to fighting that disease?
If she's a younger widow, perhaps she would be particularly interested in helping others in similar stages of life. The American Widow Project http://americanwidowproject.org/
is specifically for women who lost their spouse in combat (military widows) but it's just one of many worthy, non-religious affiliated charities.
There are so many other ways she could really make a difference, but if the church is encouraging her to 'help the needy' by giving them the money there's probably little you can do.
It would definitely drive me up the wall if one of my friends were in the same situation. In a "normal" church, she could just ask the pastor if he/she were aware of a particularly needy family in the congregation having trouble making their rent or utilities, and if she wanted to feel she was making a real difference just donate anonymously to that family for a time. But if she were to ask the bishop, he's obviously just going to tell her "that's what F&T offerings are for."
Maddening, very much so.