I have a friend who is a Protestant pastor and runs a food bank. He is meeting with representatives of a few other churches in his area to discuss the role of charititable institutions and programs as properly belonging to the "Church, however you want to define it". Anyway, he has a pretty good handle on the theological issues he wants to discuss such as being known by our fruits, Christ's teachings to care for the poor, and how this is supposed to be a reflection of the charity that God showed the world when He sent His only-begotten Son. What he is looking for help on is a history of how the Church has been a charitable organization and formed charitable organizations and institutions. Some things that came immediately to mind that we discussed were Christ's feeding of the multitudes, St Paul's collection for the poor in Jerusalem, St Basil's efforts in organizing the first hospitals and orphanages, where te saying "knock on wood" comes from, and a few other things. I remember reading about a bishop (I believe in Alexandria) who would take a collection from his congregation and each would give as able, keeping the money under a rug (could be wrong about this detail), and giving to instead of collecting from needy families when they would approach him to make their offering. If anyone can find that bishop's name and possibly give some references to hagiographies, early church writings, and historical resources recording the effect that Christianity had in ending child exposure and stuff like that it would be helpfull. I'll probably also give him a brief hagiography of how the hospitality of some monks saved the soul of a murdering thief (St Moses) who was simply looking for a place to hide.