3 Ways to Reduce End-of-Year Lunch Debt

At the end of the school year, uncollected lunch debt can put schools in a difficult situation. The balance between feeding hungry students and maintaining financial stability while also following district guidelines is crucial. Luckily, there are ways to help reduce this problem. Following these guidelines along with the help of Meals Plus can help you end your school year right.

1.  Make sure eligible students take advantage of free and reduced-price meals.

The start of the school year can strongly impact how your cafeteria finishes out the year. Communication with parents is crucial, and the sooner you can start the better! Create a summer outreach plan to encourage early application submission so kids have reimbursable meals from the first day of school. Moving this process online can also increase completed applications while making the processing easier for schools. With LunchApplication the free and reduced application process is easy and accessible for parents while integrating with the Meals Plus Free and Reduced program to accurately update eligibility.

2.  Encourage meal prepayment with alternative methods.

Another online solution for optimizing parent accessibility is offering an online payment system. With K12PaymentCenter, the process of loading money onto student accounts is simplified by allowing credit and debit card payments whenever they want. This automatically integrates with the Meals Plus POS so balance and activity are always updated.

3.  Remind parents when money is owed.

Being proactive in keeping parents informed about their student’s account can make a huge difference in decreasing outstanding balances. K12PaymentCenter not only allows parents to view account balances and what students are buying but also sends balance notifications via email and text, so they are always in the loop. Soon parents will even be able to do all of this from the convenience of their smartphone. Be on the lookout soon for K12PaymentCenter to hit the app store!

The key to reducing unpaid meal charges is being proactive, and communicating clearly. With Meals Plus, these steps can be taken in a simple, automated way making things easier for parents and cafeteria staff.  For more guidelines on overcoming the unpaid meal challenge, check out the USDA Food and Nutrition Service guide.

How Account Manager Joy Miller Gave Back this Holiday Season

Meals Plus Account Manager Joy Miller’s call to volunteerism is strong. She is currently an active member of Junior League Dallas and especially enjoys projects that benefit children. Last month, she worked with Community Partners of Dallas, which works to “stop the abuse and start the healing” of abused and neglected children in Dallas County.

Through Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive, Joy participated with hundreds of volunteers to help sort and grant wishes for over 5,300 children in the Dallas area! Each child received two “wishes,” filled with the help of corporate partners and individual supporters. If a child comes into Community Partners of Dallas’ care after the “wish” deadline, they even have a Last Stop Holiday Shop with undesignated toys that will be gifted to the children to ensure every single child is served. For many children, this is the first gift they have ever received, and for all, it’s a special time they will always remember.toy drive“The staff and volunteers at Community Partners of Dallas are amazing!” said Joy, “They are talented, passionate individuals who are dedicated to serving children in need. It was a real pleasure being part of this event.”

Thank you to Community Partners of Dallas, Joy and everyone that made this year’s toy drive a huge success, as well as everything you do year-round to help children in need!

Keep Track of Finances with Financial & Statistical Software

Meals Plus makes managing financial and statistical facets of your school cafeterias easy with Financial and Statistical management software. With up-to-date expense information, you can analyze the financial health for the district or an individual school. You can even set performance goals for individual schools!

Email us or call 1-800-541-8999 for more information!