Romney held a "storm relief event" in Ohio today (at the site of a "canceled' campaign event) at which his campaign collected canned food and such to be sent to areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.
From the Red Cross website:
The American Red Cross does not accept or solicit small quantities of individual donations of items for emergency relief purposes. Items such as collections of food, used clothing, and shoes often must be cleaned, sorted, and repackaged which impedes the valuable resources of money, time, and personnel that are needed for other aspects of our relief operation.
The Red Cross, in partnership with other agencies, suggests that the best use for those types of donations is to support needy agencies within donors' local communities.
The best way to help a disaster victim is through a financial donation to the Red Cross. Financial contributions allow the Red Cross to purchase exactly what is needed for the disaster relief operation. Monetary donations also enable the Red Cross to purchase relief supplies close to the disaster site which avoids delays and transportation costs in getting basic necessities to disaster victims. Because the affected area has generally experienced significant economic loss, purchasing relief supplies in or close to the disaster site also helps to stimulate the weakened local economy.
Rather than model the sort of approach that would actually best help victims, Romney decided to go for what looks better. A picture of Romney sorting canned goods looks better than just asking people to write a check.