Zimbabwe's first lady, repeatedly criticized for her lavish shopping sprees, told her supporters that she now skips meals in solidarity with thousands of Zimbabweans facing hunger.

At a rally held in a poor neighborhood in the capital Harare, Grace Mugabe told supporters on Thursday she was skipping some of her meals to empathize with Zimbabweans who could only afford to eat once a day.

In an open field, Mugabe assured supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party that they would have a good Christmas because she brought "goodies" — tons of maize and rice. Mugabe donates food, clothes, and government-funded tractors at her rallies.

The World Food Program in August said 1. 5 million Zimbabweans needed food assistance because of recurring droughts.

Mugabe, 50, is married to Zimbabwe's 91-year-old President Robert Mugabe.