Side Note: If you are giving food try to buy the foods that you know people love to eat like macaroni and cheese, rice, cereal, pancake mix or spaghetti.
You do not have to and it may even be incorrect to pay your Zakat al-Mal in this month.
Two Pre-Conditions for Zakat al-Mal:
That your assests are over the nisab or minimum threshold.
That you have held those assets with some exceptions for one howl or one full Islamic not Gregorian calendar year.
Paying every year in Ramadan to get the extra reward may be incorrect for a number of reasons:
1. The zakah on a person’s assets is due immediately after it has reached the nisab and has been held for one howl. So you may be sinful, if you delay paying the zakah until Ramadan. And if you assets have not reached the nisab nor the howl, you are doing something which is not obligatory and while in sha Allah you will receive the reward you should not do it if it becomes a hardship for you.
2. The howl or 1 year period is based on the Islamic calendar not the Gregorian. So, if you select a set date like November 20 to always pay your zakah, you may be too early or late in your timing.
3. The masajid and organizations that collect zakah are innudated with zakah money in Ramadan because this is the time when the majority of the community pays their zakah. But what happens in the rest of the year? The rightful recipients of zakah are left dry because the masajid have usually already distributed the Ramadan zakah money.
And Allah the Exalted knows best and is the One Who gives success.
An excellent Islamic zakah resource can be found here.
Dr. Monzer Kahf is one of the pre-eminent Muslim scholars on Islamic finance and economics. You can find him on IslamOnline answering the Islamic economic, inheritance, awqaf, and zakah issues and he developed several forms for ISNA like the Living Trust, etc.
AlMaghrib Seminar: Rizq Managment: Fiqh of Worship IV ~ Zakah, Siyam, Hajj