Hi, This year I will not be able to send mishloach manot or matanot leevyonim....I really want to do the mitzvah, is it ok if I give to Jewish food banks bekavanah? It is the only thing I can do this year....and is it better to give to a place that designates it as such? (I’ve heard of one rabbi doing it long distance as a shliach for those who can’t do it) or is simply giving bekavanah and dedication alright as donating for Purim?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. If for some reason you cannot personally give matanot le’evyonim (monetary gifts to the poor) or mishloach manot (gifts of food) on Purim, then it is perfectly acceptable to appoint a messenger (a “shliach”) to do this for you. I am certain that if you called up a Rabbi in a Jewish community near you (or anywhere that is more or less in your time zone – so that they can preform the mitzvot on your behalf when it is Purim for both you and them) and ask them to be your sheliach for these mitzvot they will be more than happy. You can transfer some money to them, and tell them how much you would like to be given to each poor person (you need to give to at least two different poor people), and how much you would like them to use to buy food presents (you need at least two foods to one person). You can do this any time before Purim (for example, today, a week before Purim). Call up an Orthodox Rabbi in the community – or some community of your choosing. Give him your details, and do a money transfer and he will be your messenger for these mitzvot. After that, you will have to take care of hearing the megillah (both on Purim night and on Purim day), and having a Purim meal on Purim day. Happy Purim.