Unicef is helping to feed children in Plymouth as part of its first ever domestic emergency response.
The UN agency, responsible for providing humanitarian aid to children worldwide, is awarding grants to community projects as part of its Food Power for Generation Covid initiative.
A partnership of Devon charities have been given £24,000 to help feed 120 families this winter.
Anna Kettley, from Unicef, said it was about “plugging a gap”.
Unicef said it was helping children in the UK for the first time because the pandemic has increased food poverty in Britain. It estimates there are children going hungry in a fifth of households.
Ms Kettley said: “We are one of the richest countries in the world and we should not have to be relying on food banks or food aid.
“Ultimately a longer-term solution is needed to tackle the root causes of food poverty, so no child is left to go hungry.”
The government said it was committed to supporting the poorest families “through the pandemic and beyond” with initiatives like the living wage, extra welfare support and the winter grant scheme.
Chris Forster, from Transforming Plymouth Together, one of the charities involved in the partnership, said he never thought he would receive a grant from Unicef.
The money means fresh produce can now be added to the tins and packets they distribute.
“In some ways it makes me feel angry but also very pleased that we are able to support,” he said.
“We had one family as part of the deliveries last week literally in tears with gratitude because their cupboard was bare.”
One Plymouth mum-of-three said: “I obviously would never see my children go without so there have been two or three days where I just haven’t eaten at all.
“They are my priority and I want to make sure that they have got enough.” – BBC