Free and reduced school lunch applications now online

VINELAND – The school district is not mailing out free or price-reduced lunch applications this year, instead it’s asking parents/guardians to apply online.

This is another online service the district can now offer through PCS Revenue Systems, the district’s food service accounting software, said Helen Haley, the district’s business administrator.

Previously, the school district included an application with a parent notification letter about the lunch program. When the applications came back, she said, the information was cross-referenced with the district’s student database and manually typed in by staff.

Now, the applications will be electronically entered, she said.

About 6,000 students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, said Purvesh Patel, the Sodexo food service director for Vineland Public Schools.

Parents fill out one electronic application per household, Patel said, noting the applications are available in English and Spanish.

The online applications are available by clicking here:

https://paypams.com/OnlineApp.aspx

“People can do it on their phone it is so easy,” Haley said.

It’s a secure website and a Social Security number is not requested on the application, Patel said. The school district processes the applications, which are then subject to review by State of New Jersey auditors to prevent fraud.

The online application process is an expansion of the district’s PayPams program.

Last year, the district used it to roll out an online application that allows parents to use credit cards to prepay for student lunches, set spending limits for their children and monitor their child’s school lunch purchases.

Going to an online system saves the district labor, paper and bulk mailing costs, Haley said. It also improves accuracy, she said, noting any discrepancies caught during a state review are noted in the district’s annual audit.

The free and reduced-price lunch application is now available online. Parents are urged to submit applications by Sept. 15.

If you’re not sure you qualify, the link does include an income eligibility chart.

The application does request a student identification number but parents do not need to include that at this time and can proceed with the application, Patel said.

Parents will receive a confirmation number when they’ve successfully completed the application.

The school board did vote earlier this month to raise the price of a school lunch.

An elementary school lunch will cost $2.65 and middle/high school lunches will run $2.80 when students return to school in September. However, the price of a reduced lunch remained steady at 40 cents.

For parents who do not have access to a computer or prefer not to file online, paper applications are available at each school or the food service office at 688 N. Mill Road, at the rear of Wallace Intermediate School.

Food service staff will be available 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday at the food service office at Wallace School to help anyone with the application, Haley said.

“This is a great process, it streamlines everything,” Patel said. “If you enter data incorrectly, it will notify you right away that it’s incorrect, so it won’t delay the process and the application.”

Deborah M. Marko; (856) 563-5256; dmarko@gannettnj.com DEBORAH M. MARKO, @dmarko_dj 11:16 a.m. EDT August 21, 2015

Here’s One Way to Improve School Lunches

Alice Park @aliceparkny

March 23, 2015
Yellow Dog Productions—Getty Images For many children, half their daily calories come from school lunch With so many children getting about half of their daily calories from school meals, it’s critical that school cafeterias provider healthier options. The latest research suggests one way to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables

 

If everyone had a personal chef, we’d all eat better. And if every school had a chef overseeing its recipes and menus, then kids would eat better too, right?

That’s the idea behind the latest study published in JAMA Pediatrics. With 32 million children in the U.S. eating school lunches—some of those at schools where pizza is considered a vegetable—there’s a movement to bring healthy food to the school cafeteria. But could a chef really make a difference?

MORE: Here’s What School Lunches Around the World Look Like

The answer, as Juliana Cohen from the Harvard School of Public Health and her colleagues found out, is a resounding yes. The First Lady’s Chefs Move to Schools program and the Smarter Lunchrooms movement have pushed two new ways of bringing healthier fare to students: by hiring chefs to work in school cafeterias, and by something they called a “smart café” system: strategically placing healthy foods like fruits and vegetables more prominently in lunch lines.

To test each strategy, as well as the two methods together, Cohen went to 14 schools in low-income Massachusetts urban areas and watched what 2,638 students in 3rd grade through 8th grade put on their trays and ate during lunch for seven months. Some schools were randomly assigned for the first three months to work with a chef to develop and modify recipes, some simply focused on the placement of healthy food, and some did both. The scientists studied what was left on the students’ plates as a way to determine what and how much of their food the students were eating.

MORE: Michelle Obama Bites Back at Critics of Her Healthy School Lunch Standards

At the chef schools, the chances that the students selected fruit from the lunch line increased threefold compared to schools without a chef’s influence, and the odds that they actually tried some of the fruit increased by 17%. Researchers saw similar boosts with vegetables; students in the chef schools were nearly three times as likely to choose veggies, and 16% more likely to actually eat them.

When the researchers looked at the schools that used both the chefs and the smart café strategies, the results were more mixed. Interestingly, the combination did not significantly affect the chances that students would grab fruits, but it dramatically increased the odds that children would pick up vegetables, compared to schools without either intervention.

“We were quite surprised to see that when we looked at the combined smart café and chefs, there was no additional benefit beyond the impact of the chef,” says Cohen, a research associate in the department of nutrition. “Really it’s the impact of the chef that is driving the increase in consumption. We also saw that chef schools also increased selection as well, so there is a double benefit in these schools.”

What the results highlight is that smart architecture and strategic placing of healthier foods in more prominent positions isn’t enough to get kids to eat them. But having a chef prepare school lunch does the trick.

MORE: Lunch Brought From Home is Unhealthier Than Cafeteria Food

At the schools assigned to use a chef, the chefs tested new recipes and gave out samples for students to try, as well as encouraged them to try new things, presumably those containing more vegetables and fruits. “Knowing that the chef inspired the recipes can change the mentality around cafeteria food,” says Cohen. “And having the chefs there showed the kids that the school cared about them, and cared about what they were feeding them.”

MORE: Most Schools Still Don’t Meet Federal Nutrition Standards

Cohen doesn’t see hiring full time chefs as a realistic or practical option for most school districts, but does suggest having several districts pool their resources to share a chef for training and nutrition education. At the schools in the study, some saw cost savings because the chefs not only revamped menus but helped staff with inventory control and more efficient use of their supplies. “They will gain long-lasting skills,” she says, noting that once they are trained, cafeteria staff could come up with their own additions and modifications to menus over time.

There won’t be a single easy fix to improving school lunches, and each school may need to find its own solution, but if Cohen’s study proves one thing, it’s that when it comes to getting kids to eat something — anything — taste is key. Even if it’s nutritious, if it tastes good too, students will eat it.

Totino-Grace High School install New Computerized Lunch Ticket System

For Parents and Students – Totino-Grace High School install New Computerized Lunch Ticket System / School Lunch Software / Nutrition Software

www.wordwareinc.com

Wordware, Inc. School Lunch Software is No.1 Lunch Cashier System for School Lunch Computer Program and cafeteria payment system.

We are pleased to announce the implementation of our new computerized meal ticket system. Our provider, Taher, Inc., has selected Wordware, a Minnesota-based company, specializing in school lunch point of sale software. Recently you should have received a letter from the food service department indicating your child’s lunch ID number as well as your lunch account balance as of September 8, 2015. Additionally, a second letter contained information on how you can create a family registration to activate a family account to review lunch account balances online as well as view daily lunch account purchases. If you experience any difficulty creating your family access, simply contact us at taherclerk@totinograce.org or call the school at 763-571-9116 x757 and we will be happy to assist you.

A NEW FEATURE Scheduled for October 1, 2015!

ONLINE PAYMENTS

An exciting feature of our new software will allow families to make payments online using a credit card. We will use the services of FEEZEES as our secure online payment system, which is fully integrated into Wordware. The online icon button will be located on the family site on the Wordware webpage. Once this button is activated, you can begin to make online payments. Simply follow the instructions as directed and you are on your way! There is a service fee charge and it is explained prior to using the services.

Other Forms of Payments

You can use other forms of payments for lunch accounts. We accept cash payments and checks. Please make checks out to: Taher, Inc.

Exciting Changes & Enhancements in the Lunch Program This Year
Menus: A rotating variety of freshly prepared entrees including some of the “old favorites” while including some new ones! Most of the main entrées are made from scratch and include 2 appropriate sides to complete the meal. Watch the school website for updates on the menus.
Pizza: Our very own homemade pizza will debut on September 10th. This student favorite is offered with cheese or pepperoni and occasionally a specialty topping on a rotating basis.
Open Air Cold Merchandiser Grab-n-Go: Selections of freshly prepared gourmet premade salads. We also offer fresh fruit, vegetables, hummus & pita chips, yogurt, pasta salads and a variety of bottled beverages including water, juice and milk.
Sandwich Station: We offer made-to-order cold and hot sandwiches, including the student favorite Buffalo Chicken and the ever steady Cubano and the Meat Lovers Sub.
On-Display Station:
Coming in November, a rotating chef-prepared meal featuring International cuisine and culinary flare. Watch for more details!

SELLING PRICES

Below is a general comparison of selling prices. Some prices have gone up, some remain the same, and some have even gone down from last year! It is possible for a student to spend under $5 for a well-balanced meal. An example is choosing the main entrée or sandwich plus a milk. See the complete price list on the school webpage.
This Year Last Year
Main Entrée: $4.75 $4.95
MTO Sandwich: $4.25 $4.20
Salad Bar: $4.75 $4.75
Cookie: $0.50 $0.40
Specialty Salads: $2.50 $2.25
Milk: $0.15 $0.15
Fries: $1.50 $2.15
Diner Station: $3.50 $3.85

We look forward to serving you! Your Food Service Team at Totino-Grace

Pat Hinnenkamp, Chef Manager  (763) 571-9116 x757 pat.hinnenkamp@totinograce.org

Prescott School District- School Lunch Account Change

The new online payment service for school lunches is in
place. The new program, FeeZee, has a direct link to WordWare, so families can now make payments while accessing the WordWare Family Website. Fees for online payments are a percentage of the transaction.
The Efunds program will be phased out as of February 1,2015. For families who are not already enrolled, WordWare School Lunch Software access information was recently sent out. If you have not received that information, please contact TinaStenroos. Any questions about this change can be directed to TinStenroos, Director of School Nutrition, 715-262-5389, ext 3181.

PRESCOTT COMMUNITY REC (PCR) ACTIVITIES

Prescott School District- SCHOOL LUNCH ACCOUNT CHANGE