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CACFP Expenses: What Costs Are Allowable?

allowable cacfp expense

CACFP Expenses

We get many questions about how care centers can use their CACFP reimbursements. These days, most centers are tight on funds and an added CACFP reimbursement (on average almost $4,000 a month) can be appealing, but owners and managers have questions about what the food program pays for. 

Here’s an overview of the types of expenses the CACFP can subsidize.

CACFP Food Related Expenses

The cost of any food used to prepare CACFP compliant meals is an allowable expense. For example, the food program allows you to claim expenses for milk, juice, bread, canned goods, fresh fruit, vegetables, and meats. Also, foods like chicken nuggets and corn dogs are allowable with the right documentation.

Examples of CACFP food expenses that aren’t allowed include soda, candy, and grocery items not found on your menus.

CACFP Meal Requirements and State Licensing Guidelines

CACFP meal requirements are almost identical to those outlined in the Texas Department of Health and Human Services licensing guidelines. So, making your current menus compliant with CACFP regulations will likely require very minor — or no — changes. Any changes typically add no more than ten to twenty percent to total food costs. 

To say it another way: You are likely already serving meals that are reimbursable by the CACFP, so why not get the money that’s due to you? 

We Can Help Estimate Your Reimbursement

CACFP subsidies can make a big difference to your bottom line. Contact a CACFP Solutions representative to get an estimate of how large your CACFP reimbursement could be!

Food Program Labor Costs

In addition, the CACFP reimburses you for the costs associated with paying the people who prepare and serve meals at your center.

 Staff involved in the following activities may be covered under CACFP funding:

  • Preparing, serving, and cleaning up CACFP meals
  • Completing CACFP meal counts and meal production records
  • CACFP Menu planning
  • Food purchasing

Kitchen Supplies

Additionally, certain items used to prepare and serve meals are covered by CACFP reimbursements. These may include:

  • Paper and plastic items like napkins, plates, forks, and spoons
  • Cleaning supplies used in food preparation and service areas
  • Small kitchen equipment that costs less than $1,000

CACFP Administrative Costs

Some of the costs related to managing your food program may be covered by the CACFP.

These could include:

  • Labor and management costs of CACFP
  • CACFP related equipment and internet fees
  • Printed materials related to your food program

Offset Daycare Costs With CACFP Reimbursement

These days, most child care centers are facing financial challenges. While the expenses covered by the CACFP are limited to a few categories, the costs that they offset can be significant. 

Think of it like this: You could use the money you would have otherwise spent on groceries and salaries for other purposes. The money could go toward increasing salaries, expanding your business, or improving profitability! 

Are you looking for more CACFP tips? Check out our article on the Do’s and Don’ts of CACFP Participation!

Are you interested in learning more about how participating in the CACFP could benefit your care center? 

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