The obligation of Matonas L'evyonim is upon every man and women over bar mitzvah. Even one who lives off tzedaka, must give Matonos L’Evyonim to another poor person.

(The Lubavitcher Rebbe instructed that children of chinuch age should give Matonos L’Evyonim by his/her self (and not the parents on their behalf).

To Whom?

An "Evyon" is one who does not have money for regular expenses, such as food, rent, medical expenses or funds to marry of his children, etc. Unlike Mishloach Manos, it is permissible for a woman to give to a man and vice versa.

Since the Megilah says one should give gifts to the poor in plural form, Chazal derive that one is obligated to give to at least to two evyonim. When giving to a tzedaka fund (see later), one must ensure that the administrator is most trustworthy, ensuring that the money will reach those in need.

When?

Matonos L’Evyonim is to be given Purim by day, and the poor man should receive the money on Purim. One who will not see an evyon on Purim, should arrange for money to be given to an evyon on his behalf.

This can be done in the following ways:

1) The Ideal: To give the money before Purim to a tzedaka organization to be distributed on Purim. 2) To mail the money to the poor man, so that he receives it on Purim day. 3) To put aside Matonos L’Evyonim on Purim, and distribute it after Purim.

Based on this, the Rebbe instructed that the Matonos L’Evyonim the children give

at rallies on Purim should be distributed immediately. Similarly, when going on Mivtzoim, it is preferable to distribute the Matonos L’Evyonim on Purim day.

How Much?

Since it is titled a "Gift" (Matonos), a significant amount must be given. The minimum must be enough for the poor man to buy a Purim Seudah – estimated at about $7 per Evyon, totaling $14. Bdi’eved if one gives $1 per evyon (enough for something to eat), he is yotzei.

Nevertheless, the Rambam writes that "one should increase in giving Matonos L’Evyonim, rather than spending on Seudas Purim and Mishloach Manos"; since there is no greater Simcha by Hashem, than to make the poor happy.

Matonos L’Evyonim can also be food, but not other necessities. Using a head check for the mitzvah is questionable.

Since Matonos L’Evyonim is an obligation, one cannot use tzedaka money or money already pledged. However, after fulfilling the mitzvah with two Evyonim, one can distribute additional tzedaka money.