Pilot Program Helps Parents in Pittsylvania County Monitor Meal Accounts

Pittsylvania Co., VA - Parents in Pittsylvania County are getting a little help with managing their kid's lunch money accounts.

On April 22nd, three schools will take part in a pilot program for an online portal called MyLunchMoney.

Parents at three schools - Twin Springs Elementary, Chatham Middle and Chatham High - will be able to set spending limits, view transactions, and pre-pay their children's lunch accounts.

If the pilot is successful, parents throughout the county will be able to use the new service.

"A lot of times, parents give their children lunch money and they don't know where the lunch money goes, " said Annette Jeter from the Citizens Advisory Committee.

Jeter works closely with the school system, but she is also a parent, and she is one of many parents who say the My Lunch Money program will take a weight off their shoulders.

"This way, the parents can actually go and look and know exactly where the lunch funds are going for their student, and they can discuss it with their child, " she said.

Jeter says parents had expressed concerns over monitoring meal accounts and staying on top of their students' balances.

Now, they'll get an email if the balance gets too low. Also, school officials say the new pre-pay option will create less congestion in the lunch line.

"It will make our line service faster, because we'll reduce the amount of time it takes to collect checks and cash at the point of sale, " said Supervisor of School Nutrition Rhonda Yates.

And it will help parents make sure the money is going to the right place.

"By reducing the risk of losing cash or checks, sometimes before they actually get applied to the student accounts, " Yates said.

The program is offered at no cost to the school system.

Jeter hopes the pilot succeeds so the entire county gets in on this.

"It benefits all of our parents and all of our students, and that's really what we're all about, " Jeter said.

Monitoring meal accounts through the program is free, and pre-paying lunches online is one dollar and ninety five cents per transaction.

After the April 22nd start date, parents at the pilot schools can sign up by registering online.