So this is a new discovery for me as well. Last week I was on a stroll in the depths of İstanbul where I came across this small pillar stone. It’s called sadaka taşı (charity stone). During the Ottoman period these structures were erected at certain points of the city. The sole purpose of this was the fair connection between the people with money and the poor (or the beggars). It’s a very polite gesture that shows the elaborateness of the public during those periods.
These small pillar stones represent the modern donation system but openly. Usually placed within mosque complexes and in a very hidden corner. It’s almost as tall as a human or maybe a little taller. There is a cavity on the very top. So people who wanted to do charity would place whatever amount they wanted in this cavity. The people with need would only take the amount they needed and leave the rest for the others. No one was offended by begging nor by paying a beggar.
The system worked fine until the descent of the Empire. As seen in the picture some still exist. So if you get to see one now you know what it stands for. No, I wouldn’t suggest for you to leave any money there.