I googled and found this: http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare156a.htm which would seem to indicate that da is actually never "to"... except in the idiomatic "da Maria", which Duolingo is loosely translating as "over by Maria's place". (ie, "Vado da Maria" = "I'm going to Maria's house" / "I'm going over by Maria.") In which case, Duolingo understood our use of "to" as meaning, we took food "over by the boy's place".
Moral of the story: we apparently should never think of "da + person" as ever meaning "to", but rather either "from" or "over by". And context, context, context. :-/
Good guess! The dative case doesn't really exist in Italian though. Dai = da (from) + i (plural masculine article) and del = di (of) + il (singular masculine article). Remember that di has a possessive role, il pane di Mario is translated as Mario's bread, and literally, the bread of Mario.