The purpose of giving is for getting rid of greediness(lobha). Or we should think from the other side with the intension, the recipient will gain happiness and good health after consumption of this. A buddhist must give away with Nekkamma chetana(Getting rid of KAMA), Avyapada and Avihinsa chetana(Loving kindness). why do we always look for merits when we give ? don't we give anything to others if there's nothing called MERITS ?
Some people keep some food infront of a Buddha statue(with lobha chethana) thinking that that they will gain immeasurable merits. But if they see a helpless person or an animal who needs food, they will not give. Had they given some food to them, the Dukkha called HUNGER will disappear. without doing it, with that impure citta, they don't keep quiet. They practise MAITRI BHAVANA(Loving kindness meditation) throughout the day. Try to understand this clearly. This Karuna Maitri (Loving kindness) is really a primary a practical activity.
Shraddha is not a blind faith, its a deveoping phenomenon, developing factor. its a INDRIYA DHARMA/ BALA DHARMA, It develops when one practises Noble eight fold path.
Other religions do have practices. Their methods are different. They live within the mundae world. They do these expecting certain things. to join gods, or Brahmas. Then with the idea of developing them within their minds, they prey, chant & imagine about them. Then adopting worship sankalpana of Kadireshwaran in hindu religion, we may have come up with a buddha image to worship as buddhist sankalpana, likewise. When they do rites & rituals to banyan tree, we look down at them saying that its Hindu. But when we worship boe tree, it is buddhist and its acceptable. its a similar act like this. Internally,core meanings are similar, core substance is mystic similarly. Then just by putting a buddha label to those very familiar mystics, it would not become SAMMA DITTI. we must come out of this.