Most people seem to walk past those who hold out a hand, or a sign, imploring a token benevolence. For a lot of people, there is just some sort of uncomfortable feeling that arises from their interaction with someone who is completely down on their luck. Perhaps they haven’t been exposed to that sort of thing. Many people grow up in rural areas or suburbs where homelessness and poverty are not on blatant display. None of this arises from these people having bad hearts, or anything of the sort. Given a chance to display their generosity with a few moments to think about it, almost everyone is capable of digging down to give towards the needs of others.
This is part of why organized charities such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army perform a vital public service. They link up those who have the ability and the desire to give, with those who desperately need items, but are unable to afford them at the prices that even the typical low cost retailer charges. This is an essential service, as, like an umbrella in a rainstorm, the needy are not to be found at the exact moment that one has accumulated a pile of belongings to give away.
Charities perform that essential function of providing reasonable hours for drop offs of goods. They also keep normal store hours, so anyone needing an item or several can stop by and conveniently select what they need from what is available. Lastly, they provide an outlet for those who see the needy begging on the street, but feel weird about directly impacting someone’s life. It is an intimate thing, perhaps too intimate for some, to be approached by someone with hunger in their stomach, cold on their back, and to look into their eyes. Charities allow people to help others without the intimacy of a direct interaction.