I suppose there's also the perception, perhaps mostly on my part, that some in society deliberately keeps people dependent on 'services' meant to help the unfortunate.
Because being the one who metes out the 'help' gives one power, and greater dependence in this model is greater power.
Stand there with your hand on the lever. Are you worthy of MY help?
One small problem with 'evenly spread', finite help is that it 'evens out' to pretty much no help at all.
If you have a scholarship, you can put one person through college, or help a few people go to college, or give everyone a $1 off coupon for their books purchased through the hideously over-priced book store.
If you had enough funds, you might put ONE or TWO homeless families in an apartment. Or you could feed a bunch of homeless people a few times, who will effectively remain homeless and hungry. Of course, you're paying the deposit (or maintaining that apartment), and there is a lot of liability with putting people up like this. You're taking a risk that these people won't flip the fuck out and trash the place, and disappear.
If you have enough water that three people can survive to walk out of the desert, out of nine people, you can guarantee that NONE will survive, if you distribute the water evenly, but if you give two people enough water, they might be able to find help before the rest die, sipping at the remaining ration. And what would be the best strategy for selection, assuming you all wanted to survive? Pick the strongest, most fit, honorable people, or choose randomly?
BTW, if you're the adventurous sort, buy an EPIRB. It will intermittently broadcast your GPS coordinates so that a satellite can pick it up, and ping at lower power on an emergency frequency so other people can zero in on you, until someone shows up. Just the thing when your hike or 4WD trip into the back country becomes a bit more of an 'adventure' than you intended. It could be the single best $500 (or less) that you ever spend. Then you probably won't have to make terrible decisions like that one with the water.