For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
At my sister's church, there have been situations where families found themselves in deep financial difficulty. I don't know how it actually worked, but I know the church provided money to a needy family and, furniture (I know one family needed a bed and another family happened to have a bed they no longer needed) to another. This really touched my heart because I'd never seen this sort of ministry in action.God's provision was literally "in the house" at that church, and I think it's beautiful. Too often I hear of churches telling members to seek help from such-and-such social service agency rather than help people directly. I think a church has to have strict guidelines and a wise group of overseers when it comes to helping out- especially financially. This is just my opinion but it seems the early church was more likely to help in-house rather than refer out.
(Galatians 6:2, Deuteronomy 15:11, James 2:14-17, 1 John 3:17)