The Archbishop of Dublin claims children, and even college students, are going to school hungry.
Diarmuid Martin is issuing an urgent appeal for food for families and charities in the capital.
The church's Crosscare charity agency is low on supplies and struggling to meet demand.
Archbishop Martin says in some cases young people are being forced to go without food in the mornings.
"I hear this all the time: children, and all the way up to university students. And some teachers would say the level of nutrition of some chidlern is so low that it's affecting their ability to learn," he said.
"Let's hope that this time next year, it'll be different, but we have to respond today to this."
People are being urged to donate non-perishable foods to their local church over the coming weekends.