CACFP Inspire: Lorinda Duffy of Red Cliff Band Early Childhood Center
October 19, 2022
Lorinda Duffy, or Lori as her colleagues know her, manages the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and is the head cook at the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Early Childhood Center (ECC). The ECC provides services for children and their families through a variety of program offerings, including family nights, kindergarten readiness, Ojibwe language learning, nutritious meals, and more. The ECC incorporates traditional Ojibwe values to promote the spiritual, emotional, physical, and cognitive wellness of the children, families, and community they serve.
Lori is always looking for ways to advance her knowledge in the area of nutrition and constantly tries to expose the kids in the program to new and exciting foods. She has a passion for feeding the youngest learners and enjoys the challenges of finding fresh and exciting ways to introduce new foods. Lori routinely exceeds her job responsibilities.
At no time was this more evident than during the pandemic. Lori was one of only a few staff who continued to work on-site when the majority of employees were sent to work from home. Lori took the lead on ordering, cooking and packaging weekend meals for all children in the community ages 0-17 to ensure that all kids had nutritious foods to eat over the weekend when the meals were not available through other community programs. She worked in collaboration with the food distribution sites as well as with the area school district. In fact, Lori sat at one of the distribution sites every day to hand out lunches and snacks herself.
As if that wasn’t enough, Lori took on the additional responsibility of looking out for those who were not able to come to the distribution sites or could not eat the standard meal being distributed. She delivered meals to children and elderly who could not get to the sites each day, and she made sure that all children with special dietary needs received meals that they could eat. This included working closely with other collaborators to make adjustments to what those kids were served.
From her focus on community to her dedication to child nutrition, Lori perfectly exemplifies the spirit of the CACFP.