Volunteer Profile: Jack Sperling

Today on the blog, we are highlighting data analysis volunteer, Jack Sperling, to learn more about his expertise and volunteer role.

How did you get involved with FFEN? How long have you been volunteering with FFEN?

I was fortunate to learn about FFEN through family friends. I enjoy volunteering at boarding school, so I thought I could continue with an organization close to my home during school breaks. I have been volunteering with FFEN for three years and I am currently serving on the FSA Steering Committee.

What is your professional background and experience in and how does it relate to your volunteer role?

Although I do not have any professional experience, I have used my love of computers, databases, and networking to help FFEN migrate its workflow to the cloud using Amazon Web Services. We did this to eliminate the problem of having files for each individual food shelf data scattered around the state. We now have a centralized database where food shelf data is kept in one convenient location for all staff to access.

What has your experience with FFEN looked like?

When I originally started volunteering with FFEN back in 2019, I started working on automating the original FSA report. This work has now evolved into creating a formal data management system for optimizing distribution of food resources. This greatly facilitates maximizing hunger relief throughout the state.

How do you think your skill sets and professional experience support hunger relief work and food shelf engagements?

I think that by assisting FFEN in migrating to the cloud, we are allowing a much broader group of people to help with FFEN’s mission of hunger relief. With a greater number of people able to access and understand this data, more immediate action can be taken on a local level. I hope to continue to make this data more understandable and actionable to all FFEN volunteers and food shelves.

Can you talk about what drew you to volunteer in hunger relief and why it's important to you?

While volunteering with a group at Our Father’s House in Groton, Massachusetts, where I go to boarding school, I discovered that I enjoyed being engaged in the community through service. Once a week on Sundays, a group of students would visit the center where we would serve hot meals to the residents. Additionally, I would also help organize and run community dinners in the town of Groton. This provided anyone in town a free meal once a month. Through these experiences, combined with my work at FFEN, I have learned how much food security plays a role in people’s lives.