If you have parents bring all the food, then you will be better off financially. But most providers cannot rely on parents to regularly bring all the food. If they don’t and you spend as little as $8.65 a week per child for food (or $450 per year), then you are in the same condition as if you stayed on the Food Program and the Tier II rate. If you spend more than this amount for food, you will be worse off than staying on the Food Program.
How is this so? By having parents bring food, you are saving $939 a year in food cost per child. This assumes that you spend the same amount of food as you received from the Food Program at the Tier II $3.60 a day rate. But you are also giving up $450 a year in food reimbursement at the Tier II level. The difference is $489 per year per child. This represents your actual savings. But if you have to spend more than $489 a year on food per child that the parents don’t bring then you are worse off. Some parents may think it is cheaper for them to pay you $9.40 ($489 divided by 52 weeks) per week in higher fees so that you can remain on the Food Program, rather than bringing all the food themselves. Many parents may also be concerned about the nutritional quality of the food you serve their children. If you decided to leave the Food Program parents may object. You could lose some parents who prefer to enroll their child with a provider who can guarantee that their child will receive nutritious meals.