CACFP Leadership Conference - The Beginning

An exhilarating kick off to the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Leadership Conference as we heard from the infamous and effective Geri Henchy - our leader advocating for CACFP on the Hill, Ed Cooney and Ellen Teller about lobbying, CACFP professional organizations and a wonderful representation of child care by Helen Blank and Eva Daniels.

We then had a detailed update from USDA about policy and the proposed meal pattern changes. 

We ended the day with a presentation of resources, materials and ideas for partnerships for Supporting Healthy Meals in Child Care from USDA, Providers Choice in Minnesota and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. 

Some take aways: 

  1. Public comment on the proposed rule for the revised meal patterns are an opportunity for us to take part in the privilege if the democratic process.   
  2. USDA has to not only read but address comments made through the official commenting process.
  3. CACFP has been highlighted more than usual by the Senate in the national nutrition and hunger conversation.
  4. When lobbying be brief and to the point and don't dance around what you want to say or ask for. 
  5. Lobbying isn't just something you do in D.C.  It's so important to do on the local level. 
  6. Not sure if Child Nutrition Reauthorization is going to take place this year or if Congress is going to kick the can, but it doesn't matter we all still have work to do to keep the impact of child nutrition as part of the conversation in the Senate. 
  7. 3 main messages when talking about child care and CACFP: work, safety and child care.  Food is the core but it's bigger than that. (paraphrasing Ellen Teller)
  8. Helen Blank told us about the impact that the cost Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) is going to have on states. The passing of this legislation comes with real concerns about how states are going to pay for.
  9. A debate is taking place regarding the possibility of allowing CACFP visits to act as CCDBG visits for license-exempt caregivers.
  10. Eva Damiels shared some data from a survey NAFCC did with their meet ship regarding the food program.  CACFP is important to them.  Some themes echoed throughout her talk were confidence, nutrition, quality and food security. 
  11. The "Make Today a Try Day" poster and stickers from Team Nutrition are so wonderful and cute. 
  12. Twist and Sprout from Providers Choice is a comprehensive resource with videos and cycle menus for family child care providers. 
  13. Greater Chicago Food Depository has a neat job service program that takes their food service needs and makes it into a workforce development opportunity. 



Samantha Marshall, M.A.

Samantha is, just like you, excited to make a difference in our community and our world. With a Master of Arts degree in English Literature, you might ask how she found herself building and writing for a website focused on child care. From 1995 through 2001, Samantha started her career working for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsors which introduced her to the importance of non-profits, community and quality child care. Her experience with Sponsors, State Officials, and Family Child Care Providers left a great and lasting impression. Later in her career and her most recent position at SAGE Publications, an academic publisher, was as a product manager for a new online resource! During this time many of Samantha's passions collided. A love for the written word, children and the proliferation of knowledge as well as a fascination with the resources the internet gives us, building a community for child care on is the perfect way to make the difference she wanted to. Needless to say, she is very excited to be an active part of creating and building