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  #1  
Old 01-09-2014, 07:30 AM
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Default Food Program… YES or NO

I am currently not part of the food program, but am starting to wonder if I should be. I do not serve lunch, however I do serve 2 snacks.

Is it worth it? What are the perks/drawbacks?
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  #2  
Old 01-09-2014, 08:04 AM
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The perks is the money for the food you are serving. The draw backs would be the paperwork. For snacks you dont get reimbursed very much. I generally claim 250+ snacks a month and the reimbursement for that is only about 250 that is on teer 1, check to see what teer you fall under because that will make a huge difference in your reimbursement amount. Honestly if I was just serving snack I probably wouldnt do it. And then there is the fact that where I live you cannot have parents supply lunch and you do snacks you habe to do all meals or nothing. That might be different in your area though. I generally get about 900 a month from the food program at teer 1 so it is definitely worth it for me.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:41 AM
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I would not be worth it unless you start to serve lunch.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by LeslieG View Post
I am currently not part of the food program, but am starting to wonder if I should be. I do not serve lunch, however I do serve 2 snacks.

Is it worth it? What are the perks/drawbacks?
I serve breakfast, lunch and snack and it is worth it because I am on Tier 1 as well.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:46 AM
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I serve breakfast, lunch and snack and it is worth it because I am on Tier 1 as well.
Same here! However, if I just served snacks & was a tier 2, it definitely would not be worth it though.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:48 AM
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One nice thing about it though is that it helps alot with the tax records. If you are on the food program, they send you an end of the year statement listing the meals you can claim on your taxes and the amount of income you earned from it.

If you are claiming your meals on your taxes, it's probably not that much more paperwork or work than what you have been doing to keep track of all that for taxes.

You aren't going to get rich off of the food program, but every little bit helps. I'd certainly look into doing it. You may be required to serve a meal of some sort though - a breakfast or lunch. But maybe you are already serving a snack that would qualify as a breakfast under the food program and get paid a little more for it...

Also if you have your own children, you may be able to qualify to get paid to feed them too even though you can't deduct their meal expense from your taxes.
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:50 AM
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IMHO, the food program is ALWAYS worth it.

For reimbursement rates you can get:

Tier 1

Breakfast.....$1.28
Snacks........$0.71
Lunch/supper....$2.40

Tier 2

Breakfast.....$0.47
Snacks........$0.19
Lunch/supper....$1.45

In my area, if the provider does not qualify for Tier 1 reimbursement, the family can fill out a form if they are low income.
Before I was qualified as Tier 1 (based on my location) I had 6 out of my 10 families still getting Tier 1 based on their family income so it was still worth it for me.

Plus, I like the trainings and support we get from the food program.

I have considered just doing it on my own and not worrying about all the paperwork etc but I can't justify it as I come out much better being on the FP.

Plus, I think it's a big selling point for parents. Even if they don't understand what the program does, it sounds good to them. ....kwim?
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:52 AM
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I was on it for years until they switched me to tier 2 so I quit it.
For me it just wasn't worth the hassle anymore. If I had remained tier 1 I probably would have stayed on the food program.
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Old 01-09-2014, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieG View Post
I am currently not part of the food program, but am starting to wonder if I should be. I do not serve lunch, however I do serve 2 snacks.

Is it worth it? What are the perks/drawbacks?
your best bet would be to call your local food program and meet and get the information to see if it is something you want to do.

I think its a great program. It helps no matter what tier your on. The paper work is very little and once you get going on it and get it down your good to go. It helps you to stay organized and know ahead what your meals are going to be, something you most likely do already. The information provided is helpful. I like being on the food program and for all the pluses already mentioned. I suggest you call and talk to a rep.
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Old 01-09-2014, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
IMHO, the food program is ALWAYS worth it.

For reimbursement rates you can get:

Tier 1

Breakfast.....$1.28
Snacks........$0.71
Lunch/supper....$2.40

Tier 2

Breakfast.....$0.47
Snacks........$0.19
Lunch/supper....$1.45

In my area, if the provider does not qualify for Tier 1 reimbursement, the family can fill out a form if they are low income.
Before I was qualified as Tier 1 (based on my location) I had 6 out of my 10 families still getting Tier 1 based on their family income so it was still worth it for me.

Plus, I like the trainings and support we get from the food program.

I have considered just doing it on my own and not worrying about all the paperwork etc but I can't justify it as I come out much better being on the FP.

Plus, I think it's a big selling point for parents. Even if they don't understand what the program does, it sounds good to them. ....kwim?
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  #11  
Old 01-09-2014, 09:22 AM
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Some "snacks" can be considered meals according to my FP rep as long as they have all the components for the meal and served at meal times. Like for breakfasts it's simply a grain, fruit/vegi and offer milk. Lunch/dinner is 2 servings of fruit/vegi, grain and protein and offer milk. I didn't use to serve dinner but my FP rep said it's worth it because instead of $0.71 you get $2.40 plus I can claim all my kids under 13 which there's 4 of! As long as it's after 4! It's a good chunk of change for me, between $400-650/mo depending on how many days I'm open and how many kids. I only have 2 now and was closed 2 weeks last month and it's still $430. This month will be better being a long work week month, 4 full weeks plus 2 days. I'm guessing it will still be in the mid $500 range even though I'm down a couple kids this month.
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Old 01-09-2014, 09:23 AM
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I'm in California, and I only serve breakfast and PM snack (parents bring lunch), and I'm on the food program. There was a learning curve, but it taught me how to serve proper portions and food categories, and now it's so easy that of course I'm going to get extra income wherever I can. Just make sure you find a food program sponsor that uses the software Minute Menu Kids (they also have an app for your cell phone) - I can't imagine filling out everything on paper every day. I made an extra $530 this year by being on the food program, and most people make much much more.
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  #13  
Old 01-09-2014, 10:28 AM
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I file online so my paper work takes less than one minute a day x 22 days so If I only got $100 and I only did 22 minutes of work that would be a little more than $200 an hour.

so even if it took you 5 minutes to check your attendance and write what you served it would still be well worth it.... easier than taking another child.

And if because of your income your children qualify while you can not count the expense for them you do not count it as income either.
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by itlw8 View Post
I file online so my paper work takes less than one minute a day x 22 days so If I only got $100 and I only did 22 minutes of work that would be a little more than $400 an hour.

so even if it took you 5 minutes to check your attendance and write what you served it would still be well worth it.... easier than taking another child.

And if because of your income your children qualify while you can not count the expense for them you do not count it as income either.
Wait... What? So I don't have to claim the money I get feeding my OWN kids?? That's the majority of my FP money!
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by TwinKristi View Post
Wait... What? So I don't have to claim the money I get feeding my OWN kids?? That's the majority of my FP money!
Yes, your own children count as "dck's" IF other DCK's are present when you serve the meals.

Atleast that's the way it works here too.

This is what the site says:

"Provider’s own children are eligible only in tier I day care homes, when other nonresidential children are enrolled in the day care home and are participating in the meal service."

It's near the bottom under "eligible population": http://origin.www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/C...aboutcacfp.htm

Last edited by Blackcat31; 01-09-2014 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
Yes, your own children count as "dck's" IF other DCK's are present when you serve the meals.

Atleast that's the way it works here too.
Here I can't count my own kids because my husband and I make too much.
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  #17  
Old 01-09-2014, 10:41 AM
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Unless you are talking about claiming it on your taxes. That part I am not sure about but I bet Tom will have an answer.

My rep says ANY money we get (regardless of if it's for our own kids) must be counted so I don't know if that part is regional or subject to "interpretation" by each agency.
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  #18  
Old 01-09-2014, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
Yes, your own children count as "dck's" IF other DCK's are present when you serve the meals.

Atleast that's the way it works here too.
Right, but I have at least 1 if not 4 of my kids here for all the meals I serve. Since we have a large family we typically qualify but just barely. With our family size we can make almost $100,000 and still qualify for many programs.

And yes I was talking about on taxes. They're already claimed through the FP because of our school district and income, but I meant whether I claim the money I get from FP for my kids. I figured if I claim them and get money I would also include the food I buy for all of them in my deductions since I'm being paid to feed them.
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:45 AM
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Reporting Food Program Reimbursements and Claiming Food Expenses



Reporting Food Program Reimbursements and Claiming Food Expenses

By Tom Copeland



Food Program
•Reimbursements received from the Food Program for children in your care are taxable income.
•Reimbursements received from the Food Program for your own children are not taxable income.
•You are always better off financially by being on the Food Program.

Claiming Food Expenses
•You have two choices in how to claim your food expenses:
•Standard Meal Allowance Method (IRS Revenue Ruling 2003-22) •If you use this method, you do not have to save any food receipts, business or personal!
•Add up all the breakfasts, lunches, suppers, and snacks you serve to the children in your care.
•Multiply the total by the following standard meal allowance rate: •2013 - $1.27 breakfast, $2.38 lunch/supper, $0.71 snack
•2014 - $1.28 breakfast, $2.40 lunch/supper, $0.71 snack

•You can claim a maximum of one breakfast, one lunch, one supper, and three snacks per day, per child.
•All providers can use these rates whether or not they are on the Food Program and whether or not they are a Tier I or a Tier II provider.
•Providers must keep the following records: name of each child, dates and hours of attendance in care, and the number of breakfasts, lunches, suppers, and snacks served. Be sure to save food receipts that contain non-food items such as paper products.


Actual Food Cost Method
• •There is no one way to estimate your actual food costs. You can buy food separately, calculate your own average cost per meal, per child or use other methods.
•You can deduct the cost of all the food you serve to the children in your care, whether or not it was reimbursed by the Food Program. You cannot deduct the cost of any food served to your own children.
•The simplest and most accurate method of estimating actual food costs for most providers is to calculate an average cost per meal per child and multiply this by the number of meals and snacks you served. Your average cost per meal may be greater than the standard meal allowance rate.
•Providers must keep the following records: all business and personal food receipts, menus, name of each child, dates of attendance, and the number of breakfasts, lunches, suppers, and snacks served.


For details, see the 2013 Family Child Care Tax Workbook and Organizer (Redleaf Press, 800-423-8309)



Tom Copeland; www.tomcopelandblog.com
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:47 AM
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I copy pasted from Tom Copelands blog as soon as it is approved by a moderator... but in the top section tells about your own children IF you qualify. no you do not count the money received for them as income just like food stamps are not income for you... but by the same token you do not claim the cost of their food. You can not double dip
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:53 AM
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I'd recommend trying it for a year or two. The training is fun, the paperwork is bearable and some people love it.

I personally opted out for two reasons after giving it two years in my current location.

1. My agency is unreliable. Constantly losing/incorrectly completing paperwork. Sending 2-3 different reps in a month for surprise inspections, disrupting my world, to make up for their mistakes. The last one was crying and telling me how she was about to lose her job...... Imagine how the DCK's handled that. She was a sweetheart, but mentally exhausting......

2. The money they pay counts as income instead of an end of year deduction. I don't need income, I need deductions. This is not my only job and if I am not careful I will owe big $$$$. As it is I get to deduct at the tier 1 rate, but would be reimbursed at tier two... None of my clients would qualify for assistance.
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:58 AM
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Ok that makes sense... Does MMK have a statement to show your monthly attendance? I need to go play with it and see
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itlw8 View Post
Reporting Food Program Reimbursements and Claiming Food Expenses



Reporting Food Program Reimbursements and Claiming Food Expenses

By Tom Copeland



Food Program
•Reimbursements received from the Food Program for children in your care are taxable income.
•Reimbursements received from the Food Program for your own children are not taxable income.
•You are always better off financially by being on the Food Program.

Claiming Food Expenses
•You have two choices in how to claim your food expenses:
•Standard Meal Allowance Method (IRS Revenue Ruling 2003-22) •If you use this method, you do not have to save any food receipts, business or personal!
•Add up all the breakfasts, lunches, suppers, and snacks you serve to the children in your care.
•Multiply the total by the following standard meal allowance rate: •2013 - $1.27 breakfast, $2.38 lunch/supper, $0.71 snack
•2014 - $1.28 breakfast, $2.40 lunch/supper, $0.71 snack

•You can claim a maximum of one breakfast, one lunch, one supper, and three snacks per day, per child.
•All providers can use these rates whether or not they are on the Food Program and whether or not they are a Tier I or a Tier II provider.
•Providers must keep the following records: name of each child, dates and hours of attendance in care, and the number of breakfasts, lunches, suppers, and snacks served. Be sure to save food receipts that contain non-food items such as paper products.


Actual Food Cost Method
• •There is no one way to estimate your actual food costs. You can buy food separately, calculate your own average cost per meal, per child or use other methods.
•You can deduct the cost of all the food you serve to the children in your care, whether or not it was reimbursed by the Food Program. You cannot deduct the cost of any food served to your own children.
•The simplest and most accurate method of estimating actual food costs for most providers is to calculate an average cost per meal per child and multiply this by the number of meals and snacks you served. Your average cost per meal may be greater than the standard meal allowance rate.
•Providers must keep the following records: all business and personal food receipts, menus, name of each child, dates of attendance, and the number of breakfasts, lunches, suppers, and snacks served.


For details, see the 2013 Family Child Care Tax Workbook and Organizer (Redleaf Press, 800-423-8309)



Tom Copeland; www.tomcopelandblog.com
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by christine19720 View Post
I was on it for years until they switched me to tier 2 so I quit it.
For me it just wasn't worth the hassle anymore. If I had remained tier 1 I probably would have stayed on the food program.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:47 PM
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Default food program

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
Unless you are talking about claiming it on your taxes. That part I am not sure about but I bet Tom will have an answer.

My rep says ANY money we get (regardless of if it's for our own kids) must be counted so I don't know if that part is regional or subject to "interpretation" by each agency.
If your own children qualify to receive reimbursements from the Food Program, this money is not taxable income. Food served to your own children are never deductible, whether or not you are getting reimbursed for them.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:52 PM
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Default food program

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
I'd recommend trying it for a year or two. The training is fun, the paperwork is bearable and some people love it.

I personally opted out for two reasons after giving it two years in my current location.

1. My agency is unreliable. Constantly losing/incorrectly completing paperwork. Sending 2-3 different reps in a month for surprise inspections, disrupting my world, to make up for their mistakes. The last one was crying and telling me how she was about to lose her job...... Imagine how the DCK's handled that. She was a sweetheart, but mentally exhausting......

2. The money they pay counts as income instead of an end of year deduction. I don't need income, I need deductions. This is not my only job and if I am not careful I will owe big $$$$. As it is I get to deduct at the tier 1 rate, but would be reimbursed at tier two... None of my clients would qualify for assistance.
I can understand your reason #1, but reason #2 is not logical. Yes, Food Program reimbursements count as income, but you will still claim the same amount in food expenses after you join the Food Program. If you use the standard meal allowance rule, you can deduct food expenses at the Tier I rate that was in effect as of January1st. If you are getting reimbursed at the Tier II rate, you are still better off financially if you join the food program. Let's say you can deduct $4,000 using the Tier I rate. If you join the Food Program you will get about $2,000 in income. So, you pay the tax on the $2,000. But you still get to deduct the $4,000. The only difference between being on the food program and not being on it, is that you get more income! If your husband got a raise, would you want him to accept it? Even though with his higher income your family will pay more in taxes? Of course! The same thing happens with the food program.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:53 PM
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•You are always better off financially by being on the Food Program.

Tom, can you explain the above?

I am tier two, and none of my families qualify for tier one. My own children do not count in my ratios and I do not get reimbursed for them. On my taxes, I can take tier one rates. Other than having to wait, how would I be better off being ON the food program? Particularly if that amount moved us up a tax bracket? (I am not sure that it would.)
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Old 01-10-2014, 11:04 AM
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Because you can do both. You can still claim the deductions of the tier 1 level at the end of the year.
You should do that, regardless.
On the food program, you also get more income through the monthly reimbursements.
My only issues with the FP are that I think it's too lax in what it allows providers to serve and be credited. However, it doesn't force me to serve junk. I can still serve whole foods and be reimbursed.
I've only been on since the tail end of October, but I'm very pleased. Money is money. This is a business.
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  #29  
Old 01-10-2014, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Lisa's Little Lambs View Post
Because you can do both. You can still claim the deductions of the tier 1 level at the end of the year.
You should do that, regardless.
On the food program, you also get more income through the monthly reimbursements.
My only issues with the FP are that I think it's too lax in what it allows providers to serve and be credited. However, it doesn't force me to serve junk. I can still serve whole foods and be reimbursed.
I've only been on since the tail end of October, but I'm very pleased. Money is money. This is a business.
No, I am looking at how it is MORE beneficial. If you receive reimbursements, that is income. Even with the difference.
For example, let's say I receive $5000 in reimbursements through the food program, being on tier 2. Claiming tier one for my taxes, I might have $10,000 in deductions, BUT I have to claim that $5000 as income. To me, it is a wash, other than you get the income throughout the year, rather than taking it all as a deduction at the end.
And if that amount of income pops you up a tax bracket, it could actually end up COSTING you money.
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Old 01-11-2014, 06:56 PM
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I love the food program discussion. It makes me chuckle everytime.

Lets say you pay 30% tax. If a parent offered to pay you $100 or $50 which would you take? Either way you have to file taxes, and either way you get to write off the same deductions. The food program is the $100, not doing the food program is the $50.

FREE MONEY, for feeding kids who already eat. Plus or minus a minute of paperwork a day and three visits a year from a rep.

The food program deposited over $5k in my account this year and I am writing off a little over $6500 in meals, thanks to extra meals which were over my daily reimburseable limit.
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Old 01-11-2014, 07:00 PM
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And if you are worried about it bumping you up a tax bracket put more money in a savers retirement account. Every year there are plenty of ways to save on taxes, many of which can still be done NOW for last year 2013.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieG View Post
I am currently not part of the food program, but am starting to wonder if I should be. I do not serve lunch, however I do serve 2 snacks.

Is it worth it? What are the perks/drawbacks?
I started out on the food program and utilized it for about 6 months. It really didn't work for me. The extra money each month is nice however after sitting with my tax lady and my particular tax situation it would be better to just write off all the meals without the extra income. A lot of my parents were ok with it as most of them prefer either Soy, Almond or special milk and on the food program they have to get a doctors not in order for me to provide them such milks even if the parent was going to provide it.

Like I said I tried it and decided that for me it's better without it.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by melilley View Post
Here I can't count my own kids because my husband and I make too much.
Yep us too!
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