Cups for Caritas is our 2017-2018 iteration on the ten-year tradition of Empty Bowls events at Malvern Preparatory School.

Since 2008, our student potters have been channeling their talent in the ceramics studio towards fundraising for a worthwhile cause. Our first Empty Bowls took place on a cold night in December 2008 at Malvern Prep’s Stewart Hall, staffed by student volunteers and showcasing around 400 bowls available for our guests.

Nine years and nine annual events later, we have raised over $100,000 for Bethesda Project. This Philadelphia organization that operates thirteen different programs ranging from emergency overnight shelter to long-term, permanent housing for homeless and formerly homeless men and women. Bethesda Project is more than a homeless shelter; the organization forms long-term relationships with their guests and residents, with a focus on affirming the dignity of the individual. Bethesda Project also focuses on building reciprocal benefits to residents and volunteers, helping volunteers to learn and grow through their experiences in service.

Empty Bowls is a national organization that has been supporting thousands of these events worldwide since 1990, when high school art teachers in Michigan helped their students solve a problem and make a change. They were searching for a way to raise funds to support a food drive. What evolved was a class project to make ceramic bowls for a fundraising meal. Guests were served a simple meal of soup in a bowl they kept as a reminder of hunger in the world. By the following year, the originators developed this concept into Empty Bowls, a project to provide support for food banks, soup kitchens, and other organizations that fight hunger. The Imagine/RENDER Group, a nonprofit organization, was created to promote the project. Since then, Empty Bowls events have been held throughout the world, raising millions of dollars to combat hunger.

At our school, Cups for Caritas is based on an important concept: When one develops a talent, it comes with the responsibility to seek and learn ways to use that talent in the service of others. We work hard, create as a community, and look for ways to share our talents with others.

Read more at our blog.


Our tenth annual fundraiser for Bethesda Project takes place on Sunday, January 14. 

We will begin with Mass at 9 AM in Our Mother of Good Counsel Chapel on Malvern Prep’s campus. Our Mass will feature student and guest speakers who will share context on our event’s theme of ‘caritas.’

The doors to our showcase of cups and brunch in Stewart Hall will open at 10:30 AM.

At brunch, each guest chooses one cup as she or he enters. A simple buffet-style brunch will be served, and we encourage our guests to share this meal at family-style seating. After most guests have arrived and selected a cup, student volunteers will re-open the showcase of cups so that guests can choose additional cups for purchase. Guests can also bid on showcase items at our silent auction.

For the third time, we are excited to collaborate with partners from Villa Maria Academy High School.

Tickets are available online.

Our Class

For the first time, our annual fundraiser is embedded in the new “Art & Advocacy” class at Malvern Prep.

During the fall semester, students enrolled in this class are leading all logistics and programming for the Cups for Caritas event. They are planning Open Studios, securing student volunteers, and meeting with Malvern’s administration—as well as leading the creation of the cups

In the spring semester, these students are charged with designing another artistic event with a social justice theme. We will be investigating other artists who are working in advocacy, community, and social justice, with the goal of inventing something new at Malvern Prep. Stay tuned for updates.

Art & Advocacy Students

David Wiener ’18

John Connors ’18

Ben Mankowski ’18

John McGlinn ’18

John Giordano ’20

A few previous programs:

2008 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014 / 2015 / 2016 

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