Earlier this spring we announced our CACFP Emerging Leaders nominations. Today, the CACFP Roundtable is thrilled to introduce to you our CACFP Leaders. You may notice we dropped “emerging” from the title. It didn’t take long, after we met our leaders, that there was nothing “emerging” about their leadership in the CACFP and child nutrition. So, the CACFP Roundtable decided to go with CACFP Leaders for this cohort. Please meet:
After we read through the nominations, the CACFP Roundtable Board chose these exceptional individuals to feature throughout the coming months. We then sat down to talk with them over zoom, and asked them about themselves, their programs and their leadership styles.
While their programs – who they serve and where they serve CACFP meals – vary widely, there were common threads throughout the interviews that speaks to the unique qualities of the CACFP community.
Compassion and Empathy. These are the most important characteristics of a CACFP leader. Natalie, Brenda and Fausat all said these were necessary to do the job right. One needs to have compassion and be empathetic when serving meals to the community; understand where the children and families are coming from so you can adequately provide meals. It doesn’t stop with the children and families either, you need to understand where the staff are coming from too and lift them up along the way.
Dedication. Natalie, Brenda and Fausat exhibit extraordinary dedication to the mission of serving the community meals in any possible way they can. This was especially apparent when they talked about all they did to ensure families were still cared for during the pandemic. Natalie opened a food pantry for the community, because she knew the families needed access to food because the children weren’t in child care anymore. Brenda ensured that all of her scratch cooked meals were able to be served after schools shut down and they went to grab-and-go style meals. Fausat turned to a drive-thru and delivery service of meals in her school district and applied for all 29 schools to be on the CACFP so she could provide as many meals as possible. They’ve been working around the clock to do anything they can to give children access to healthy meals. In addition to supporting the community, they focus on providing their staff with support: reinforcing the great impact staff make on the children’s lives and development; providing professional development at every turn; and making sure staff feel seen and appreciated.
And there is so much more. Read their profiles, learn more about them and their programs, and join us in congratulating them for their incredible work in the CACFP community.
More from the CACFP Roundtable
The CACFP Roundtable is committed to fostering a community of leaders who work together to build equitable access to the Child and Adult Care Food Program and nutritious meals in care settings. Your support goes toward programs and advocacy that help us get closer to ensuring everyone has the right to nutritious meals and making the CACFP an even better Food Program for all.