Does anyone here know the best way to donate clothing so that the donation will have the most impact? I was recently given a few pairs of new children's shoes that my son can't use because of his extra wide feet. I was looking around the NYC Department of Homeless Services to see if there's a shelter that works with families where I could donate them. Under organizations that accept donations of household goods, they list the Salvation Army and Housing Works; I'm assuming the idea is that the donations will get sold in thrift stores and the proceeds will be used to help people who need it.

My question is: is it better to donate them to Housing Works, on the assumption that they are able to put the dollars that the shoes would generate to really efficient use? Or is it better to call around to shelters (or other organizations?) and find out if they ever accept donations to give directly to the families they serve? The latter is a more emotionally attractive option, especially since I was always getting second-hand stuff as a kid so I like the idea of a kid who's probably in the same boat getting a brand new pair of pretty cool shoes (Captain America cross-branded with lights that light up when the kid walks). But are they worth more being sold in a thrift store? Or is that a really crass way of looking at the situation?

(The shoes are marked as samples, I don't know if that makes a difference. I'm assuming they are just normal shoes...?)