The Community Food Pantry and Bags of Hope are ways AHN students contributed to service this summer.
The Community Food Pantry and Bags of Hope are ways AHN students contributed to service this summer.
Photo Credit: Alexandra Nicholas/Achona Online

Students spend their summer serving

While most students planned on nothing but to vacay and relax over the summer, Senior Madison Ratchford chose to give up her personal time and serve her community. Madison Ratchford is a senior at Academy who has been involved in service for the Community Food Pantry since middle school. At the Community Food Pantry, Ratchford helps with food drives, sorts food, and manages the volunteers. She turned her love of service there into applying for an internship at the Community Food Pantry in Carrollwood over the summer of 2023.

Ratchford states, “I started out by volunteering at the pantry to meet my hour requirements and as time went by, I began to really enjoy it and then I decided to become an Intern for the organization.” Ratchford went into this service not knowing how much she would love it. 

While she makes it look easy, there is a process and several requirements necessary to apply for an internship at the Community Food Pantry. Ratchford explained that to apply, she had to obtain a certain GPA, and she had to complete essay entries pertaining to why she wanted to become an intern for the Community Food Pantry, other activities she participates in, and how committed she will be to the pantry. 

No matter the time of year, Ratchford always finds time to serve. During her freshman and junior year Mission Week Projects, she led a group of other students of the Academy in serving with the Community Food Pantry. During the summertime, Ratchford attends the Pantry three times a week, while during the school year, she serves on the weekends. She exclaims, “Serving at the food pantry never feels like a waste of my time. I am always lifting others up and that is important to me.”

Senior Madison Ratchford preparing for a food drive at the Community Food Pantry, organizing the jobs for the incoming volunteers.
(Photo Credit: Madison Ratchford/Used with Permission)

Ratchford is not the only student in our Jaguar community who is dedicated to serving others. Another member of our Holy Names Community, Megan Price (’24), adds service to her life. Price also has an internship, but for a different organization, Bags of Hope. Bags of Hope is an organization who has its volunteers assemble bags full of items that we would use in our lives daily that those facing poverty do not have access to. Those items can consist of toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, socks, snacks, and more. Price has been involved with this organization since her freshman year. She explains, “I enjoy helping other people in the community and it feels really good knowing that I’m making others feel good.”

Hard at work, Senior Megan Price assembles a ‘Bag of Hope’. (Photo Credit: Megan Price/Used with Permission)


These students in our Holy Names community are some of our inspirations to upcoming grades looking for ways to help our community and really get a sense of getting in touch with our school’s core SNJM Values. Giving time up and serving others is a way to show that they care for the community and what happens to those around us, as Senior Madison Ratchford explains: “Helping people and making a positive impact on the community just makes me smile.”

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