The Benefits of Acts of Charity for the Dead
St Athanasia fell asleep in the Lord on August 14, 860.
The saint predicted that she would receive glory in Heaven forty days after her death. On the fortieth day, two devout sisters were granted to see St Athanasia and two radiant men standing before the royal doors of the iconostasis. They clothed her with a purple robe embroidered with gold, pearls, and precious stones. They set a crown on her head, handed her a gleaming staff, and led her through the royal doors into the altar.
Before her death, St Athanasia ordered the nuns to feed the poor for forty days following her departure. The sisters, however, did not fulfill her request and set out the memorial meal for only ten days. The saint appeared to some of the sisters and said, "Let everyone know that alms given for a departed soul for forty days after death, and food offered to the hungry, appease God. If the departed souls are sinful, they receive forgiveness from God. If they are righteous, then the good deeds bring God's mercy on the souls of those who perform them."
Then she thrust her staff into the ground and became invisible. The staff left behind sprouted the next day and became a live tree.
Is offering a donation (food or money) to a monastery that depends on the charity of others to survive (including eating) the same thing as offering a donation to the hungry?
Must this be done right after the person's death to be considered alms on the deceased behalf?