Implemented USDA Meal Applications for the Schools in US

USDA Meal Applications

School meals are an essential part of a child’s life; therefore, for the welfare of the whole community, the government provides meal applications to receive reduced-price school meals for the benefit of students.


Our client had a requirement to create a web application that eases out the pain involved in applying for free and reduced-price school meals. The need was to build a contemporary solution that replaces and enhances an existing decade-old working solution.



Our client is a primary online software solutions provider for K-12 school districts who represent over 40 states and 12,000 students in the U.S. Our client's software helps the parents and community for easier management of school tasks. They offer modern solutions that are quick and easily implemented.



The requirement was to create a web application that manages the complexity of districts from the reduce-to-free meal applications process. Our client wanted to build a user-friendly application that is powerful, flexible, and provides an efficient way to process single or multi-family meal applications.


Although the goals were pretty straightforward, we encountered few challenges like; we had to understand the USDA criterion; as the different APIs were running in the background, it became a challenge for us to improve the web application's work efficiency. The meal processing application and reporting issues became frequent.


Furthermore, the application's verification method was carried out; it created undue stress between school administration and end-users. Therefore, for a trouble-free meal application method, Chimera built up an unproblematic solution.


Our Strategy:

Our team did a detailed study of the database and the USDA criterions. The team members had conferences with our client to understand the data that they were managing and how to create features that give a better and integrated user experience.


We divided the project into different development phases. Once the phase started, we reported the client with our progress periodically. This project was delivered to the client ahead of schedule.


Our Solution:

Our highly-skilled team developed a user-friendly solution with crucial features that entirely cater to the meal application processing system. The end users can check their application status, download individual determination letters, add an unlimited number of users, and many more.


The application process has been integrated with multiple systems from the central district office, individual school sites, and parent's payment portal.


Based on our client's requirements, we integrated USDA guidelines to a centralized application that helps the end-user to apply for free or reduced meals. We have created several standards that support the end-user to appeal without difficulty.


For the End-Users:

We have built several features for them to navigate quickly, such as if a user leaves in the midway of applying for meal reduction, he/she can be reverted to the same page. The end-user can view his application status once the appeal has been accepted or rejected and, depending on the condition, the user may download the letter of determination. This is automatically gets reflected in the school's POS with all the necessary criteria.


For the School District:

Chimera has built an automated step-by-step application process that can reduce paper applications. This request automatically integrates with another software application that determines the payment information of students. It can also track the appeals and view the statistics of verification.


This application is mobile-friendly, where we have used the in-app browser with responsive screens. Through Angular and Microsoft SQL Server, we built the web-application.


Business Outcome:

  • The centralized application process has reduced the number of people necessary for involvement in the application process.
  • Quick and easy direct certification uploads, edits, and extending benefits to defined families
  • Automated determination of benefits helps the employees to work without stress
  • A detailed report is readily available, and this helps to save time and reduce manual errors
  • This became one of the most successful applications launched by our clients

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