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DEAR ABBY: I am the director of a 14-unit shelter for the homeless and would like to ask your help in eliminating what I find to be a costly and frustrating problem - inappropriate giving. I am sure that human-service providers everywhere would be grateful if you'd ask your readers to consider the following guidelines when making a donation:

1. If it doesn't work, please don't donate it. Most programs do not have funds available to repair TVs, toasters, clocks, etc.2. Please call first. Some programs are unable to accept certain items, and you will save yourself frustration.

3. Please don't be angry if we say, "Thank you, but we cannot use clothing right now." If you are giving because you want to help, you should be happy our residents are clothed, not angry that you may have to spend an extra five minutes contacting other programs.

4. Please never just leave items outside our door. In many areas this violates the city codes and contributes to poor neighborhood and community relations. Besides, we want to meet you and thank you personally for caring.

5. Please don't use this shelter as a dumping ground. Some shelters spend more than $200 a week hauling away useless items that are in poor condition.

6. Please don't become angry if we can't pick up your donation. For many of us, transportation is a dream of the future.

7. Please remember us at times other than Christmastime. It's miserable to be living in a car in 100-degree weather, too.

8. Please remember that human-service providers are always grateful for your generosity - our programs and our clients depend on it - but we need your cooperation, too, in order to best utilize what you have to offer. Sometimes the best donation you can give us is a little of your time. We never have problems finding a use for that.

Thanks, Abby, and to all of you who make our lives brighter by donating to programs like ours throughout the country. We need you! - VICKY LYSEK, SHELTER DIRECTOR, ALLENTOWN, PA.

DEAR ABBY: I have been a faithful reader of your column for many years and I trust your judgment. I am a 38-year-old single parent of an 11-year-old daughter. I am presently planning to be married in the not-too-distant future. I am not planning to have a large wedding, but I do want to be married in a church with my family and close friends present.

My mother has stated that because I am a single parent, I cannot, in the eyes of God, walk down the aisle of a church.

I will not wear a white wedding gown - I've selected an ivory-colored gown with a matching shoulder-length veil.

My mother is giving me a very hard time about my "right" to walk down the aisle. Please print your answer. - CONFUSED AT 38

DEAR CONFUSED: Never have I heard (or read) that a single parent may not walk down the aisle of a church to be married. Your clergyperson is better qualified than your mother to tell you what is (and what is not) appropriate "in the eyes of God." Consult the clergyperson of the church in which you plan to be married.

DEAR ABBY: The letter about the habit some people have of saying "you know, you know, you know" brought back some memories of my childhood.

When I attended Franklin Elementary school on Goethe Street, Mrs. Mortimer, my English teacher, told the class she was trying to break the "you know" habit in some of her students. I will be 82 years old this August, so that habit is nothing new.

I have enjoyed you for years in the Boca Raton News. Keep up the good work, Abby.-ELMY IN BOCA RATON, FLA.

DEAR ELMY: Thank you. Keep reading, Elmy, and I'll keep writing.

Everything you'll need to know about planning a wedding can be found in Abby's booklet, "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and address, plus check or money order for $2.89 ($3.39 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.) A