must start this write-up by explaining that, in what we call "Christianity" today, there are various interpretation of God's TRUTH, just as there are various theologies and doctrines (of course there are over-laps, but HUGE differences).
Liberal theologians Interpretation of Dr. Luke's account (book of the "Acts of the Apostles") is different from Traditional theologians interpretation. Overwhelmingly liberal theologians believe that the act of taking care of the poor fall primarily to Government, while many traditional theologians see it as primarily the function of the church.
Now, let's examine the scripture in context - as written and history.
The period in question is 0 AD - 30-50 AD, the people of THE WAY (followers of Christ) were in minority but very bold especially after the Resurrection of Christ and Empowerment of the Holy Spirit. They were hated by the Religious leaders for teaching a different theology and doctrine, also threatening the status quo power structure and they were hated by the Romans for stirring trouble within the province (and by their growth too).
As they grew in numbers (Truth mixed with the Holy Spirit is POWERFUL), both set of leaders Religious and Secular hated them more and persecuted them greatly (the Bible and history has chronicled what the early church went through - read it yourself). The persecution made the Church stay very closely knit, and they had no choice than to help themselves (until Stephen was killed and they scattered).
While they hurdled together (the people of the WAY), they took care of each other, this is when superstars like Joseph of Cyrus (aka Barnabas) emerged because he gave everything he owned (which was a lot) and others like Ananias and Sapphira - who lied, also emerged. The church or people of the WAY took care of themselves, just like most sects do for survival today.
Our world is governed by laws (natural and spiritual) and principles - all put in place by God. He rarely intervenes, but does occasionally when a faithful human has obeyed unto death (for example, closing the Lion's mouth for Daniel, fire not burning the three Hebrews, holding the sun for 24 hours for Moses, opening the jail door for Peter, etc.).
In the same way, God knowing that there would always be the (financially) poor amongst us, has designed other humans to be the conduit through which He provides primarily (He does by-pass humans as needed). As seen in scripture we are created to Worship and to bring Glory to His name, by Him bearing FRUIT through us (for other folks).
As individuals or as corporate entities (in unity), we are to seek God for how He wants to reach our neighbors, community and world through us (we don't all have the same passion or gift) - perhaps, your assignment is to feed the spiritually poor not the financially poor, or vice-versa - any unit (Church particularly) has been equipped with different gifts, it is left to the leader to recognize and harness the gifts God has placed within the body.
I was reading yesterday how, RCCG Apapa Family in Lagos, Nigeria donated an entire ICU unit with modern equipments FREE to the state teaching hospital. Salvation Army, Lutheran Family Services, YWCA, Teen Challenge are all known organizations that started within the Church (some of them have strayed or compromised God's Truth).
In an age where the giving of the CHURCH is about 3% (in-spite of popular prosperity teachings) - the problem, I believe is Knowledge and understanding (bad teaching) - unfortunately, teaching on GIVING is not my intent for this write-up (do your own study).
We as INDIVIDUALS and as THE BODY OF CHRIST are the ones COMMANDED to take care of the POOR in our midst, with God working through us, as a Body we do a lot more (power of real Unity not conformity to be nice) and it is God, not an individual that gets the Glory.
What ARE YOU DOING, Who ARE YOU REACHING WITH YOUR FRIENDS, How IS YOUR LOCAL ASSEMBLY REACHING THE POOR IN YOUR HOOD, Is your personal budget reflecting what the early church did?
Please note that Governments do have a role in taking care of the POOR within their jurisdiction, mainly through policy and sometimes through "Safety Net", but never "Welfare". In the law of Moses, God commands rich farmers (depending on the size of their farm) to leave certain areas for the POOR. The poor (mainly due to death of spouse - men, or being a foreigner) are then encouraged to harvest whatever is left on any farm - they are not to sit at home and expect basket of goodies.
William Femi Awodele is the Executive Director of Christian Couples Fellowship International, Inc. and a Vice-Chair of Embrace the Heartland in Prayer (http://www.prayheartland.com)