ST Vincent de Paul volunteers are distributing McDonald's vouchers to needy families.
The charity has told its workers they can collect vouchers for the fast-food chain and give them out to people struggling to make ends meet.
In a memo to volunteers, SVP said they have “McDonald's gift vouchers in denominations of €5 each available”.
Conference members, or volunteer workers, can acquire the dockets using SVP donations and then distribute them to those most in need.
It is part of the food assistance programme offered by the charity.
Volunteers have also been told that cheese, butter and rice from surplus EU supplies will be available for distribution shortly as well. An SVP spokesman said the vouchers are mainly distributed in Dublin and fewer than a 1,000 a year would be given out.
He said the charity does not give out the items “in place of food vouchers”.
“They provide a limited number of McDonald's vouchers to families,” he told the Herald.
“They are usually provided as part of a treat which may involve a trip to the Dublin Zoo,” he said.
“It's not giving people vouchers for food, per se. It's only as a treat for young families. (Volunteers) are throwing in a few vouchers for McDonald's as well,” he added.
“It’s only in a very limited way, less than a thousand a year,” he said.
Dietician Orla Walsh, who works with the Dublin Nutrition Centre, believes, while it is good food assistance is being provided, McDonald's meals tend to be high in salt, fats and sugars.
“Some food is better than no food.
“It's unfortunate that those in the lower socio-economic bracket tend to have diets that are high in saturated fats, sugar and lower in nutrients she said.
But she added that “it is good that someone is helping those that need extra help with food”.
As the volunteers are distributing vouchers, the recipients can choose meals they want.
The charity stressed that the McDonald’s vouchers were seen as treats rather than food vouchers.
McDonald's had not returned a request for a comment at the time of writing.