As I mentioned in the previous cost-cutting blog, items in your inventory should be treated as stacks of cash on the shelf. It’s also necessary to look at all commodity items on your shelves as assets. But, they only truly become assets when they are used.
Facha explained that not using USDA Foods is a direct loss to child nutrition programs. When it comes to your PAL account – if you don’t use it, you lose it. This actually takes on two different meanings. For one, if you do not tap into your PAL account by the end of the school year, that money is completely wasted as it does not roll over into the next year. Second, even if you do purchase USDA Foods with money from your PAL account, if you are not actually using those items, you are losing them. All those unused frozen veggies in the back of your freezer that you purchased but didn’t forecast and plan for? A total waste. Use that PAL account, but use it wisely!
Treating your USDA Foods as assets, and looking at your PAL account like an actual bank account, is the best way to get the most out of your commodities. Begin planning and forecasting your USDA Foods for the following year as soon as possible, so you are ready to submit your commodity requests to the State agency at the beginning of the new year. The deadline varies from state to state, but most state orders are due to USDA beginning in April. Changing the way you think about commodities, and properly planning for them, will be a great money-saver for your program!