Part of the doctrine of the Methodist Church is to help improve society, and this includes the poor as well as those incarcerated. The church also weighs in on social issues from time to time, and this was one of the founding principles of the faith. People of the church, rather than depending upon God to solve man's problems, are urged to go out and help others. Community programs for the poor and those who are incarcerated are part of the works expected by church members.
Tackling social issues has been a driving force in many religions, but Methodists tend to be more active. Rather than simply tithing to help people within their faith, they go out and help people whether or not they are members of the church. This is not done simply to convert people, and it is a major departure from other religions that emphasize missionary work in helping others.