Question: Can I use maaser money for kimcha depischa?
Answer: The Gemara Yerushalmi (Bava Basra 1:4) teaches that one who has lived in a city for twelve months is considered to be a resident. Thus they must give wheat to the poor and are entitled to receive wheat if necessary. Following this, the Ohr Zarua (Pesachim 255) writes that the minhag is to distribute wheat to those in need before Pesach. This serves as the Rema’s opening words to hilchos Pesach (OC 429:1).
Thus, we see in the Shulchan Aruch Harav (OC 429:5) that the prevalent custom was for communities to levy taxes on their townspeople for this purpose (See Mishna Berura 429:3).
The Mishna Berura (Shaar Hatziyun 429:10) explains that it is inappropriate for us to celebrate Pesach, knowing that our friends are unable to. Additionally, we must consider the added costs of Pesach food. R’ Yaakov Betzalel Zolty (Mishnas Yaavetz OC:7) explains that the Rema wrote this halacha in hilchos Pesach rather than hilchos tzedaka because this is, in fact, an integral part of Yom Tov, rather than tzedaka. Thus, Rambam (Yom Tov 6:18) writes that one who doesn’t look after others on Yom Tov demonstrates that his Yom Tov expenditures were not done for Yom Tov but for oneself.
Nonetheless, the Shulchan Aruch Harav and Aruch Hashulchan (OC 429:7) refer to this as tzedaka. Thus, R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichos Shlomo, Nissan 2:2) maintains that one may use their maaser money for kimcha depischa.
In conclusion, one may use one’s maaser money for kimcha depischa.
בבא בתרא י. רבי יהודה אומר גדולה צדקה שמקרבת את הגאולה..
Rabbi Yehuda says, ‘Great is charity for it hastens the Redemption’ (Talmud, Bava Basra 10a).
May the merit of this mitzva lead to our own redemption במהרה בימינו.