There's a lot of things you can do 'long distance'. Very good things. Very needed things. You can donate to your favorite charities and :-) please do here. You can do meaningful 'need oriented' events (the recent health fair is one that comes to mind), 'special treat type' events (this time of year especially), attend and contribute to fundraisers, support your local civic clubs which in turn do periodic events and raise money for other charities/ministries and much much more. All of these activities combine to bring blessing after blessing to those in need and to those who care for them. That we are thankful is an understatement.
But when you're present, you can
...understand the plight of someone who doesn't live anything like you do.
...convince someone that you care, not just about a class of people called 'the poor' but about them (you know, Susan and Latisha and Joe)
...watch a life change, little by little, month by month, year by year
...not just give a well thought and well presented gospel presentation on 'eveangelism night', but watch what the gospel does as it bears fruit in a person's life
I don't know, but for us here at Crosswind...
you've gotta be present to win.