In September, Fariña announced that all students in New York City will receive free lunch through the Free School Lunch for All program regardless of their income, where they live, or if they go to a public, private or charter school.
In 2016, 75 percent of students qualified for free lunch and this school year, 100 percent of families will be eligible to receive free lunch. The initiative expects to provide 200,000 more students with free lunch starting this school year.
"We know that students cannot learn or thrive in school if they are hungry all day," says Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Free school lunch will not only ensure that every kid in New York City has the fuel they need to succeed but also further our goal of providing an excellent and equitable education for all students."
In other parts of the country, families are struggling to pay off the debt that students incur when they are unable to afford a meal. According to the School Nutrition Association, roughly three-quarters of school districts have unpaid student lunch debt balances.
In December 2016, writer Ashley C. Ford tweeted
, starting a movement
that has since raised thousands of dollars towards paying off student lunch debts across the country.