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Two Kansas CACFP sponsors recognized for hard work, leadership

Posted: May 3, 2022
Categories: KSDE
Author: Ann Bush

Awards given during National Child Nutrition Conference in New Orleans

Two Kansas Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsors received national recognition for their hard work and dedication to child nutrition.

The recognition took place during the National CACFP Sponsors Association’s 2022 National Child Nutrition Conference from April 18-22 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The National CACFP Sponsors Association serves as the national organization for sponsors who administer the USDA CACFP.

Brooke Wolf, executive director of Quality Care Services in El Dorado, received the CACFP Inspire Trailblazer Award, which recognizes an organization or individual who successfully implemented innovative ideas and continued to administer the CACFP during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her name was announced on Wednesday, April 20.

“Winning the Trailblazer Award is such an accomplishment. I was completely shocked,” Wolf said. “I am passionate about early childhood education and healthy nutrition. Being innovative and creative is something that drives me personally and professionally.”

The National CACFP Sponsors Association, which sponsors the award, received more than 500 nominations for the CACFP Inspire Awards. Only 12 finalists were selected - four in each of three categories. The three categories are Collaboration, Trailblazer and Community.

Wolf brought gardening and Farm to Plate eating to 17 individual sites, 174 children and 135 families, according to the National CACFP Sponsors Association. In addition to its role and service as a CACFP sponsor, Quality Care Services also partnered with the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) to implement a Farm to School subgrant opportunity. Through this program, Wolf successfully increased the quantity of local foods offered throughout the organization’s CACFP sponsorship. Quality Care Services recorded more than 7,500 pounds of local foods served in nine months from the 17 subgrantees.

“It was important for me to embrace any opportunity which may bring joy or happiness to our providers during such difficult times (such as the pandemic),” Wolf said. “Embracing the opportunity of the KSDE subgrantee local foods grant was exactly what our organization and providers needed. This was an innovative way to increase awareness of local foods, while continuing to enhance the CACFP. In turn, our efforts toward the local foods mission is what earned us the Trailblazer Award. I am humbled and honored to be recognized nationally.”

Valerie Cable, executive director of Day Care Connection in Lenexa, was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award during the National Child Nutrition Conference.

The Day Care Connection is a nonprofit, full-service support agency for more than 700 day care home providers, Cable said. She started the organization in 1982. CACFP allows Day Care Connection to reimburse licensed family day care homes for meals that are served. Staff members from Day Care Connection do CACFP check-ins with providers three times per year. The organization also provides a referral system that matches parents to day care openings; offers CPR and pediatric first aid classes; has a resource center with early learning materials; and provides counseling for providers and parents.

Cable has been working in the child nutrition career field for 40 years.

“I was surprised and flattered – humbly so,” Cable said of receiving the award. “I was really taken aback. It was very nice.” 

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