I learned that, before government welfare, America was not a cold, cruel place in which widows and orphans routinely died. Instead, America had a vast network of fraternal organizations that functioned as welfare organizations. As with the Mormon wards, these “welfare” agencies worked extremely well because they took place at the community level.
I would add that ‘providing’ welfare is NOT a Constitutional function of the Federal government. This includes things like so-called Social Security, which is nothing more than a welfare scam.