CACFP Inspire: Community Action Council of Lexington, KY
August 26, 2022
Community Action Council of Lexington, Kentucky is a Head Start program and CACFP sponsor for 20 child development sites throughout Kentucky. Laura Sheffield is the Health and Nutrition Director, and she and her staff operate the CACFP with outstanding care and creativity.
The team at Community Action Council of Lexington is a CACFP inspiration due to their dedication to helping their community. In recent years, their workload has increased because of new health and nutrition initiatives, but the staff has taken up these efforts without complaint, pushing to help their participants have access to healthy lifestyles through nutrition resources and education.
In 2021, they expanded classroom learning to include agriculture experiences, such as aquaponics, gardening, seeds, and the growing process as well as trying new foods. Their hands-on learning experiences led to thoughtful discussion and education about garden-to-table eating and food waste.
Working with the University of Kentucky, the nutrition team was able to initiate a mobile food market program to provide food boxes to their families. These boxes include dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables, canned fruits and vegetables, protein sources, and whole grains. The boxes helped their Kentucky communities tremendously, especially in the rural counties because food pantry resources are scarce and most of their population live in food deserts.
Laura and the team even partnered with nonprofits to provide virtual workshops for their participants. Those who participated received resources, including kitchen appliances and food to prepare meals at home with the entire family. The purpose of the workshops is to engage children in the cooking process, so they develop healthy eating habits at a young age. There were even Healthy Meals on a Budget workshops, which are live demonstrations for our parents to reference when they need healthy meal ideas for home. These videos are recorded and published on their agency’s YouTube page.
Without a doubt, the nutrition team at Community Action Council of Lexington embraces the mission and purpose of the CACFP, beyond the walls of the kitchen and classrooms. They have taken up the cause of child nutrition with the aim to effect real change in the lives of their participants. We’re grateful for their dedication and effort.