Although one should not have a meal before hearing the Megillah, one is permitted to eat items that are not considered meal-type items. One should therefore not eat bread or items made from the five grains which one would say Mezonos on. All other foods may be eaten in any quantity before the reading of the Megillah.
There is an ancient custom to give three silver coins to Tzedakah before Purim. This is in commemoration for the Half-Shekel that was given by every Jew at this time of year when the Bais HaMikdash stood.
Most shuls have half-dollar coins that individuals acquire by giving the monetary equivalent and then giving the silver coins to maintain this custom. To do so, one places a minimum of $1.50 in the basket with the coins, lifts the coins, thereby acquiring them, and returns them to the basket.
One of the Mitzvos of Purim is to give gifts to the poor. To fulfill this Mitzvah, every adult must give a meal or the monetary value of a meal to two poor individuals. The Mitzvah is to specifically do this during Purim day.
Practically speaking, one may give as little as $5 for each poor individual for a total of ten dollars.
I will be distributing money to those in need on Purim. One can donate through the shul website and put Purim in the memo of the donation or give me checks or cash on Purim.
This Mitzvah can only be fulfilled Purim day. You can give me money to distribute before Purim as I will only distribute it on Purim day.
Mishloach Manos – one fulfills their obligation by giving two food items to ONE person. It is a wonderful opportunity to show people we are thinking about them. I strongly encourage you to take the time to think about who such people may be. This Mitzvah can only be fulfilled on Purim day.
One is obligated to have a festive meal on Purim day.