Imagine going to Eid prayers knowing there is no food to celebrate with. Other families would cook and serve delicacies and you have to tell your family it’s another day of hunger.
Allah asks Muslims to consider those who have less than they do. Not just to invite them to Eid feast but give them a chance to cook their own. Give them dignity.
It is not like regular Zakat that can be paid in different forms of wealth including cash.
This one is specifically food just as that of Eid-al Adha is specifically meat.
The Prophet legislated a Sa’a (four double handfuls) of date ,barley, wheat and dry yoghurt.
( Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)
You can use the staple grains available in your part of the world if these foods are not found there.
Allah has made it a purification for the fasting Muslim and good for the poor. (Sunan Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud).
For in our faith, giving is not one-way. A thing for the haves to look down on the have-nots. It benefits both the giver and the given.
These raw foods are to be handed to the poor to do as they wish.To give them control and make it feel more than a just a ‘handout’. Avenues like this ensure wealth redistribution and by extension, social justice is achieved in Islam.
It is given for every member of the family iincluding newborns. In the Prophet’s time , it was given for servants and slaves. It is important that it be given before Eid.
In some countries, this program is highly organized where you drop money for one Sa’a or more and this is used to purchase foodstuff to be given to the poor. But in others, you might have to measure out the foodstuff and identify people to give.
Get your plans in place if you are able. Time is running out. If you are not able, don’t worry I hope someone gets it through to you. May Allah enrich you so you can be among the givers next year.