A pilot scheme to supply hot meals to primary schools has been heavily over-subscribed.
More than 500 schools applied for the 36 places available.
It aims to address the issue of children turning up at school hungry.
The number of school applying has led to concerns about the scale of food poverty where families struggle to fee their children.
Principal of Our Lady of Lourdes in Inchicore in Dublin, Tonya Hanley, says some children may not have had a hot meal for more than a day.
"No two DEIS schools are the same and no group of children within each DEIS school are the same but there are children who might come to school hungry and they may not have had a chance to have a hot meal the day before before this programme started," said Ms Hanley.
She said that some of the children in her school are currently homeless with a family living in a single room where there may not be any cooking facilities.
"Rents in this area are quite high so people sometimes just don't have money left at the end of the month for those nice things that you see on Instagram of people putting creative things into lunchboxes.
"Sometimes it's just not possible."