CACFP Inspire: Fausat Rahman-Davies, Rialto USD Child Nutrition
June 8, 2022
Career path and impact on the CACFP
Fausat Rahman-Davies emigrated from Nigeria to the United States as a child. Her mother sought better education for her and wanted to help her to overcome a speech impairment. Fausat later attended college and graduated from Cal State San Bernardino University. She then began working at the Rialto Unified School District, where 87% of students qualify for free and reduced meals. Fausat started as a child nutrition service worker, and she was eventually promoted to Nutrition Service Lead. Her career trajectory continued to rise through Nutrition Services Secondary Supervisor, and Assistant Director of Nutrition Service. Today Fausat is the Lead Agent of Nutrition Services.
Fausat is on a mission to stop hunger in Rialto, and she has had an enormous impact on the CACFP locally. In fact, Fausat is responsible for the introduction of the CACFP to her school district. Rialto Unified School District is comprised of 29 schools, and Fausat implemented snack and supper at all 29 of them.
A creative take on child nutrition in the pandemic
When the pandemic brought food security challenges to the doors of Rialto families, Fausat was ready with ideas. She worked with the USDA’s Farmers to Families program to get food boxes to students in her district, she coordinated bread donations, and she organized a drive-up food pantry.
Fausat knew just where to turn when supply chain and labor shortages threatened the availability of necessary fruits and vegetables. She leveraged relationships with local farmers to supply produce. She even found a commercial kitchen to prepare that produce by washing and slicing it before delivering it. Turning to local growers and an area business for food and labor kept Fausat’s own child nutrition operations running, but also supported the Rialto economy.
Most notably, Fausat created a series of drive-thru barbecues, her unique twist on grab-and-go lunches. These barbecues featured DJs, community volunteers, seasonal and holiday themes. Most importantly, they were known for delicious and nutritious food. In a period that was isolating for many, Fausat found a way to create joy, promote child nutrition, and offer culturally relevant dining--all while maintaining pandemic precautions.
Fausat’s early life was in a village in Nigeria, but she often tells people that Rialto is her village now. The attentiveness and care she gave her community in the pandemic certainly demonstrate that. Economic partnerships, food pantries, creative barbecues—those are the manifestations of a person nurturing their community, not simply executing a job.