A handout is something that's given to a person in need. A useful handout for someone who doesn't have a home might be food, money, or clothing.
Handouts are anything that a person, government, charity, or other organization freely donates to needy people. While the word originated in the 1880s and gained popularity during the Great Depression among so-called "hobos," people who had to live entirely on the charity of others, handout has taken on a negative connotation in modern times. It's more often used to criticize the government or tax rates than to mean "a generous, thoughtful donation."