How To Become A School Meals Program Sponsor

The Ohio Department of Education and Workforce, Office of Nutrition, in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), administers Ohio School Meals Programs including the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Special Milk Program, the After School Care Snack Program, and the USDA Foods Program. Ohio school meal programs serve more than one million meals daily at more than 4,000 sites.

Links to fact sheets describing the specific School Meals Programs in Ohio are listed at the bottom of this page.

To become a school meal sponsor, the following steps must be completed:

  • Basic Training: At least one sponsor representative, preferably the food service director or other food service administrator, must attend a School Meals Basic Training workshop. Click here to view information on Potential New Sponsor Basic Training including workshop dates, and registration instructions. A handout packet will be provided prior to attending basic training. 

  • Potential New Sponsor Survey: Potential new sponsors must fill out the survey linked here. In the survey, School Food Authorities will provide the required information so The Office of Nutrition can set up a profile in the Claims Reimbursement and Reporting System (where schools submit their annual application to participate in School Nutrition Programs as well as submit claims for reimbursement.) A follow-up communication will be sent to potential new sponsors with pre-sponsor paperwork. Required information to complete the survey includes:

    • School District IRN
    • UEI - Any entity that wishes to do business with the federal government and who will receive federal funds or a subaward must have a UEI number issued via as well as a valid registration on
    • FEIN - FEIN stands for Federal Employer Identification Number. It’s also known as an EIN, an Employer Identification Number, or a business tax ID. The IRS issues FEINs to businesses for tax purposes. An FEIN is different from an employer state ID number. 
  • Claims Reimbursement and Reporting System (CRRS) Application: Following the successful completion of Basic Training and New Sponsor Survey, sponsors will submit a Certificate of Authority, sent via office communication after completion of the Potential New Sponsor Survey. 

  • Onboarding Specialist Assignment: New sponsors will be assigned to an Education Program Specialist within the Office of Nutrition who will be in contact with school personnel to review areas of regulatory compliance. Sponsors should expect the following prior to approval: 

    • Conference Call with assigned Specialist to walk through areas of regulatory compliance, indicate documentation required for review and scheduling of the on-site visit. 

    • Pre-Approval Site Visit: The assigned Specialist will perform an on-site visit. 

  • CRRS Application Approval: After the above steps are completed and the sponsor is determined to be in compliance, approval for the program will be granted. The sponsor may submit claims for reimbursement starting in the month preceding the approval date if the program was in operation at that time. Reimbursement for meals served will not be approved until all the preceding steps are successfully completed. Reimbursement for meals served prior to CRRS application approval is not guaranteed. 
 Should you have question about the National School Lunch Program onboarding process, please contact Katie McCurdy

Links to Program Fact Sheets and Related Information

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Last Modified: 4/22/2024 12:45:21 PM