The Bodhisatta was once an ascetic who lived in the Himalayas. One rainy season he and his fellow ascetics came down to get salt and seasoning and resided in the royal park. Their first morning there they went to collect alms in a village outside the city walls. The following day they collected alms inside the city and the residents there donated together as a group. One man told the Bodhisatta that some people gave a lot and some gave a little. The Bodhisatta replied that no gift was too small and anyone who gave was a good person.
In the Lifetime of the Buddha
Two friends arranged a collection of alms for the Buddha and his disciples. When presenting the offerings to them, the eldest explained that some people gave a lot and some gave a little. The Buddha replied that everyone who gave something did a good deed. Then he told this story so they knew that in the past people also gave alms as they were able.
The ascetics were earlier births of the disciples with the Buddha during this alms ceremony.