Volunteer Profile: Kathy Tuzinski

We will be highlighting data analysis volunteer Kathy Tuzinski on the blog today and learn more about her volunteer role and expertise.

How would you describe your background and experience? How does it relate to your volunteer role? My background is Industrial and Organizational Psychology. My work often

involves data analysis, report creation, and communicating results. I’m pretty

efficient in Excel and related statistical packages. My volunteer work running

Food Sourcing Analysis Reports for FFEN is well aligned with my skill set.

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

FFEN? I found the opportunity for a Data Analysis Project Volunteer on VolunteerMatch

and reached out to Kate Burggraff. She got back to me right away. Jenny Moore

then reached out and we had a call that was a combination of an official interview

and learning more about FFEN. Very soon after this, I attended my first FSA

Report Creation Event and met other volunteers (now we meet remotely due to

COVID-19). I’ve been volunteering since early March. Did you have any involvement with hunger relief efforts prior to FFEN? Can you talk

about what drew you to this cause and why it's important to you? Just a bit. My husband and I have been fortunate enough to be able to donate to

Second Harvest every year for the past 10 years or so, and I spent an afternoon

volunteering at Second Harvest Heartland as part of a work-sponsored event. I

had so much fun that I brought my son along to volunteer there again. I don’t

know exactly what draws me to this cause – I have not suffered from food

insecurity myself but it’s a no-brainer that food is essential to life itself. My heart

hurts thinking that others in my community need to make the hard decision

between food and other necessities like heating, shelter, healthcare, or clothing for

themselves and their families. Having access to healthy food is one of those

fundamental rights we all humans should not have to fight for to get. What does a typical FFEN engagement or project look like for you? Gazing lovingly at data and spreadsheets. I really do enjoy being able to take the

brainy side of my personality and apply it towards something that I know is a

worthy cause. Usually what it entails is I receive a data set on food sourcing for a

certain food shelf that has partnered with FFEN to understand more about the

product mix they are sourcing for their clients. The data includes things such as

the pounds and cost of food sourced, the number of households and individuals

served, and any grants received. FFEN has certain categories we use for assigning

food for reporting purposes. I take these data and place them into a report

template with a set of pivot tables and charts that will then be exported into

reports that are shared back to the food shelf. I know there’s more that FFEN

wants to do with these reports to better service this industry, so I anticipate the

work with FFEN may evolve over time. Do you have any particular stories or moments from your work that you would like to

share with readers? Something that illustrates the meaning and importance of the work or

how you engage with FFEN's mission? I think the most notable is learning how valuable this work of analyzing food

sourcing really is. Yet the work is manual, time-consuming, and requires some

skill and experience in Excel. FFEN has figured out how to get this important

work done by a mostly 100% volunteer workforce. The strong community of

volunteers supporting FFEN didn’t happen by accident. If FFEN wasn’t doing this

important work for food shelves, I’m not sure who would be. How has volunteering with FFEN shifted your learning or understanding of your

particular field or hunger relief? I’m surprised at how wildly popular yams are. But seriously, I’ve learned a lot

from working with FFEN about how different food shelves can be, in terms of the

volume and types of products they select to meet the needs of their clients.

Through the data, I get the sense that the people staffing food shelves really care

about what they are offering to their clients and maybe in some sense want to be

seen as a destination that can be enjoyed, much like the grocery store.


To learn more about FFEN’s mission and how you can help click here.