"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." James 1:27
I believe keeping this commandment will change our hearts more than almost anything we can do. There is much need, much heartache, and so many to help.
We are to use our offerings to the Lord to care for those in need. It is best if we can personally attend to their needs. When you go to God each day, ask what you can do to help another. You will hear God's voice, feel His love, and increase in joy.
Helping the poor pulls at the heart strings of the tenderhearted. You will come across campaigns asking you to donate to help the poor. Be wise. Ask, are the funds used with integrity? Are those requesting money for charitable work, taking any of the money for themselves?
If you feel to contribute to some group who is raising funds, do your homework before donating. Some Christians volunteer their time and all donations go toward feeding, clothing, and housing the poor. Other organizations have a paid staff whose salaries are paid before the money is filtered down to the poor.
Charities should have open books where you can see how the funds are being spent. See how your offerings will be used before throwing money to a cause that may or may not help the poor.
For example: One of the charities I've donated to help feed children in third world countries. Those who run the charity at the top level are volunteers. Those who distribute the food at the local level are paid a small wage. These local workers are also poor, this modest income helps them come out of poverty. I know this is happening, and I feel good about my offerings being spent this way.
Excerpts taken from “Is Not This the Fast That I Have Chosen?” By President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, General Conference April 2015.
Here are the scripture references for this video:
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward.Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.