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  #1  
Old 11-07-2011, 08:48 AM
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Default Does Food Program Pay Enough

I used to be on the food years ago but when I went down to part time care it wasn't cost effeciant to be on it.

My question is how much are they paying now? Does everyone find that they receive enough money or are you still taking money out of your pocket to buy enough food.

Right now, I figure we are taking a loss by not being on the food program. Also, its less paperwork/inspections to keep up with. Not many of the providers in my area are on it because there always seem to be problems with the agencies that do it.

I don't do breakfast so it would just be two snacks and lunch.

I have 2 Monday through Friday full-timers
1 Monday through Thursday all day
1 Monday through Thursday just mornings for pre-school
1 Monday through Wednesday (Monday is all day, T and W are 1/2 days)
1 is a drop in 3-4 days a week

I'm figuring maybe $200.00 a month which just doesn't seem worth all the extra work you have to do for it. I want to do really healthy, healthy, meals but not if I'm having to shell out a ton on top of the food program. I've looked at the meals you guys feed and its just looks very expensive and then if I have kids that aren't wanting to eat it, I really don't want to throw it away.
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  #2  
Old 11-07-2011, 08:53 AM
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they pay about $2 for lunch and 55 cents for snack.
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  #3  
Old 11-07-2011, 08:55 AM
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I say yes.

I am a bulk shopper, list maker and pre-plan my meals. I also pay attention to what is on sale and in season. I don't know how much of that helps as far as the reimbursement from the food program goes but I feel that being on it is absolutely worth it.
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  #4  
Old 11-07-2011, 09:02 AM
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I think it's worth it. I would serve the same meals whether I was on the food program or not, so the cost of food is not an issue for me. I have lots of meal templates that I've saved, which makes planning, shopping and recording meals very easy. I also have an awesome program sponsor that makes it very easy on me as far as paperwork and visits go.

I was bumped up to the higher rates this year due to some change in the rules, but even when I was on the lower rate it was still worth the small amount of time and effort over and above what I would do anyway.

Current rates are:

Tier I - Bkfst $1.24, Lunch $2.32, Snack $.69
Tier II - Bkfst $.45, Lunch $1.40, Snack $.19
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  #5  
Old 11-07-2011, 09:11 AM
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I'm on tier 1 so totally worth it. last month i had 4 full timers and got 300!
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  #6  
Old 11-07-2011, 09:18 AM
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So worth it. I average around $1000 per month from the food program. (I'm licensed for 16)
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  #7  
Old 11-07-2011, 09:29 AM
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I had so much trouble with the last 2 food programs that I belonged to. It wasn't worth the hassle to me.
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  #8  
Old 11-07-2011, 09:31 AM
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I honestly don't see it as that much more work. You have to feed the kids whether your on it or not, and doing a little bit of paper work is worth getting back $200 in my eyes. I am on tier one and get to claim my own children as well.
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  #9  
Old 11-07-2011, 09:42 AM
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i'm only on tier 2 so for me, its not really worth it.
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  #10  
Old 11-07-2011, 10:23 AM
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I'm on tier 1 so it is worth it. I do mine on the internet so it only takes 2 minutes to do it. I get an unannounced visit every three months from my sponsor. The part I don't like is you have to tell them if your going to be closed or leaving your house for any part of the day. At times it just feels like they are running my daycare!
I was sick for two days and didn't work and forgot to call them to tell them I was closed. A couple of days later my sponsor came by for a regular visit and saw I didn't claim meals for 2 days. I told her I was sick, she gave me an hour lecture on how I have to notify them. Then made me sign a new contract so now I have to send in my claim by 10pm or I don't get paid. I usually do this anyway but now knowing I can never forget I'm always stressing about it.
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  #11  
Old 11-07-2011, 10:25 AM
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I looked into it and after meeting with the program person about it, I decided to wait since I only have my two inconsistent drop ins. No way am I going through all that and trying to store extra food for the kids when they dont come regularly every day and then I have to call in to let them know any time I am not serving due to no kiddos in care, no thanks!

If I had 4-5 full timers hear all day then I may look into it again and look at getting a deep freezer for extra food storage because I would have to shop the sales and such...even then im not sure but it might be worth it if I had consistency.

My parents provide their child's lunch and snack (I could do snack but the parents I have now go ahead and bring it anyway) and I provide milk if needed, works so far and my new parents are used to doing that where they were before so that is what I am doing for now.
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  #12  
Old 11-07-2011, 11:13 AM
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I know it's a lot of hassle and a lot of phone calls and paperwork and you know what's best for you and your business but once you decide to jump on the food program you'll see that it is very benenficial and it does help a lot.

Even with a full DC and the food program paying at the highest tier the reimbursements for snacks and meals aren't enough to cover the entire snack or meal but they do help. It's nice to have that extra check in the mail every month.

Many providers don't realize that even when you get reimbursements from the food program that you can still claim the standard meal allowance on your taxes. DON'T FORGET!!

Clam your food program reimbursements as income and then when you do your taxes at the end of the year claim all of your year's meals according to the standard meal allowance. It helps out a lot! If you don't receive any food program reimbursements don't forget to claim your meals at the standard meal allowance!!
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  #13  
Old 11-07-2011, 01:38 PM
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Nan,

I was wondering if your on the food program and does it pay for you. Doing a Sunday dinner everyday has got to be expensive, especially the organic part of it.
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  #14  
Old 11-07-2011, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarinaVanessa View Post
Many providers don't realize that even when you get reimbursements from the food program that you can still claim the standard meal allowance on your taxes. DON'T FORGET!!

Clam your food program reimbursements as income and then when you do your taxes at the end of the year claim all of your year's meals according to the standard meal allowance. It helps out a lot! If you don't receive any food program reimbursements don't forget to claim your meals at the standard meal allowance!!
This is a good point. Another thing to remember is that the IRS allows you to deduct 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner and up to 3 snacks per day (assuming you actually serve them, of course). So if you are like me and serve both morning and afternoon snack plus breakfast and lunch, you can deduct the extra snack served even though you can't get reimbursed through the food program.

Sorry to veer off topic...
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Old 11-07-2011, 02:35 PM
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I'm Tier 11 which really stinks. I live in a more affluent area, so I'm autimatically put in that tier. In addition, 90% of my parents make too much to qualify for a Tier 1 rate.

I average 16 children per day and I pay for EVERYTHING, including formula and baby foods. I average $500.00 per month from the food program which is peanuts compared to what I spend on food per month. Ugh.
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  #16  
Old 11-07-2011, 03:25 PM
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I am a tier one, and most of my kids qualify for that tier too. I have 8 kids here full time, 2 meals and one snack a day and 2 kids before and after school. I get between $800-$900 a month. For me its worth the 2 minutes of online claiming a day, then the 3 visits a year. I do alot of big pot, casserole cooking, for lunches/dinners and oatmeal, pancakes, and big batches of "cheaper" things then cold cereal or poptarts/etc.

If I was on tier two I would make half of that and any income is worth it for me. Up to you and how easy your food programs are.
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  #17  
Old 11-07-2011, 03:38 PM
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I have 5 kids enrolled. One is on the higher Tier, the other 4 are on the lower tier. I do am snack, lunch, and dinner (pm snack, but it meets the components of dinner, so I can claim it that way it our program).

My last check was $320
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  #18  
Old 11-07-2011, 03:39 PM
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I think our program is pretty hard to do it seems. I know very few people that are on it. They really discourage casseroles, crock pot meals, anything that is mixed together. I have none of my own children home to eat during the day so that wouldn't help. Also, from what I remember they go on what school district you are in, not what your parents qualify for.

I have an appointment later in the month, well they still need to make it. The day I called the lady acted like they were never in the office and some of her questions were worded a little strange. Things she should have known she was asking wrong. Our nearest food program is 2 hours away so if I have questions its not like I can have someone come over from the office and clarify paperwork or anything.
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:44 PM
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I understand why they discourage casseroles because of amount of meat/veggies, but its so much easier, and I load in the veggies so there never is a question! Sounds like you might want to contact a provider in the area to see how it works maybe??
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  #20  
Old 11-07-2011, 03:46 PM
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Your school district can automatically get you into the higher bracket, but so can your familiy income (and you can sometimes get reimbursed for your kids if your income is low enough). Your families will also fill out income forms, to see which rate they qualify for.

What state are you in? BTW, I pm'd you about homeschooling...
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  #21  
Old 11-07-2011, 04:59 PM
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October was the first month I was on it and I'm pleased so far. I was planning on using the extra money to increase our organic intake, but I received more then I expected. How often does that happen? I didn't realize that our state also reimburses on top of the federal amount. Not sure if your state does this as well. I believe it covers, or at least comes really close to covering the costs of food for my daycare kids. Not at all what I expected! (I have one child on Tier 1 (higher reimbursement) and 3 on Tier 2)

Good luck!
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  #22  
Old 11-07-2011, 06:03 PM
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I'm assuming that the food program is nationwide, because its subsidized by the USDA and the CACFP (Child and Adult Care Food Program).

You can qualify by tier 1 (higher reimbursement rates) based on your school district or based on your household income.

You can do a mixed tier system if your parents might qualify, for free or reduced school lunch - they would qualify you to receive a higher reimbursement rate for their children. So you might have Johnny and Bobby on tier 1 and Lily and Suzy on Tier 2.

Or you can just be on tier 2.

When I first started daycare, I qualified based on my household income, and they allowed me to include my own children in the reimbursement. Now that I'm making more money, I no longer qualify within my household.

Now I qualify based on where I live/through my school district. I am not allowed to claim my own children in the reimbursement schedule.

Here are the rates of reimbursement:
Tier I
Breakfast $1.19
Lunch/Dinner $2.22
Snack $0.66

Tier II
Breakfast $0.44
Lunch/Dinner $1.34
Snack $0.18

My understand is that you can only be approved for two meals and one snack per day. But based on what you serve, they approve you for the most amount of $$ possible. (So they will disallow a snack to give you a breakfast, for example)

Anyway - those rates are published online, so you can go through and figure out how much you would receive based on your enrollment.

Also, my sponsor works with Minute Menu Kids - I wouldn't choose a sponsor that didn't work with an online program like that. It WORKS really well for me. MMK just released an iphone app, so that might make it easier for some.
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