The Megillah (The Book of Esther) prescribes "the sending of portions one man to another, and gifts to the poor" (9:22). According to halacha
, each adult must give two different foods to one person, and two charitable donations to two poor people. The food parcels are called Mishloach Manot
("sending of portions").
To fulfill the Mitzvah
of giving charity to two poor people, one can give either food or money equivalent to the amount of food that is eaten at a regular meal. It is better to spend more on charity than on the giving of Mishloach Manot
Providing monetary support for the poor is probably the most important of all the Mitzvot
of Purim. Yet it tends to be minimized. Proper observance of Purim would require the spending of at least as much on this Mitzvah
of Purim as on any of its other Mitzvot.
These gifts should be given by day. It is proper to give the gifts to the poor after the Reading-of-the-Megillah. If one sets aside a tithe, ten percent, from his income for Charity, these gifts should not be included in that amount. If, however, he gives some slight sum from his own funds and wants to add his tithe, he may do so.
If one has set aside money for gifts to the poor on Purim, he may not change their intended purpose and give them to another Charity.
A person cannot free himself, through his gifts to the poor on Purim, from the general obligation of 'Tzedakah' (Charity) which the Torah places upon him.
The gifts should be given in sufficient time for the poor to utilize them during Purim - and for their Purim meals. The poor person may do as he wishes with the gifts, however.
This year (2018 - 5778), Zdaka center will be distribute the Matanot l'Evyonim to needy families out of Jerusalem (Thursday, 1 March, 2018) and in Jerusalem on Purim (Friday, 2 March, 2018) so any donation, no matter what the size would be greatly appreciated. A generous donation of $18 will sponsor one decent meal of Purim.
Please remember the poor in Jerusalem when you give Matanot l'Evyonim this Purim.
Any donation will help a needy family celebrate Purim with joy.