I had a similar experience in Leon in September 2007. I bought him a cheap phone card, which to his credit he actually tried to give back to me, but he wanted bus fair to some other city, I didn't give it to him as it was more than my daily budget. Felt bad for the guy, seemed sorta' sad and lost. I don't know if it was same guy, but not sure if he was a pilgrim. I think I might have given him some money for food, too. Oh well, I don't like to be hungry.
Giving to the less fortunate is a very Christian and proper thing to do for everyone.
Here's a suggestion on how to safely do it...if you believe you must.
Keep a euro or two in an easily accessible outer pocket...I use a small baggie so it won't jungle. This reduces the amount of money someone can get in a classic "snatch and run'. Never, ever take out your money pouch and dig around...bad juju.