The compassionate relieving of another's material need for God's sake.
They enter directly or indirectly into all the corporal works of mercy.
As such they are a divine institution for drawing closer the bonds uniting the members of human society in their common dependence on Him who has given the earth to the children of men to support the lives of all.
They have, therefore, a necessary place in Christian society.
The representation of almsgiving in art is associated with Saint Martin of Tours, who gave his cloak to a beggar, Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, Saint Ivo of Chartres, and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, all noted for their charity to the poor.
New Catholic Dictionary