Malvern News

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Malvern Community Completes Two Full Days of Christian Service

On Tuesday, October 26, and Wednesday, October 27, the full Malvern Prep Community participated in back-to-back days of Christian Service Learning. These dedicated school days offered both on and off-campus service opportunities to help those in need. 

In keeping with the academic year theme, “To lead is to serve - to serve is to love” and under the direction of Fr. Chris Drennen, O.S.A. '73 and Mrs. Kelly Catania P’21’23, Christian Service at Malvern Prep has been revamped and reimagined to have a greater impact on the world around us as well as to be meaningful experiences for our students.

“During the pandemic, our students were limited in the types of service experiences they had. It was something that was notably missing as we reviewed the previous academic year - and to our students’ credit, it was something they asked to do more of this year,” explains Mr. Ron Algeo ‘87 P’15, Assistant Head of School for Student Life. “We are thrilled with the direction the service program is heading in this year,” he added.

For the 2021-22 academic year, six school days are dedicated to Christian Service. The design of the program pays tribute to the Augustinian Core Values of Truth (Veritas), Unity (Unitas), and Love (Caritas). The October 2021 service days were themed around Caritas and were designed to show our devotion to St. Augustine in caring for those less fortunate in our community.
Throughout the two days, students rotated to service experiences which included:

  • Rise Against Hunger- Students packed thousands of meals with people worldwide. This hands-on event helps educate students on the real need for food in so many areas of the world.               
  • Seeds International - Students packed seed bags which are distributed to impoverished communities in developing countries. The strategy initiates a cycle of self-sufficiency that gives people the resources they need to feed themselves. 
  • AmericanSeedsUSA - Malvern Prep worked with AmericanSeeds USA to pack and deliver thousands of beans wrapped in small bundles to aid those families suffering from food insecurity. 
  • Chester County Food Bank “Color Some Kindness”- Students decorated food boxes with paint, markers, and stickers that will then be delivered and filled with food we collected to feed the homeless. 
  • Comfy Covers - Students worked in teams to assemble beautiful, warm blankets to share with the homeless in our community. 
  • Blessing Bags- Groups designed cards and assembled blessing bags to share with the homeless people in Philadelphia.

Students also participated in learning events. One such event, “Walk for Water,” educated students on the hardships families face who do not have access to clean water. By traveling in groups to Black Friar Pond to fill a water jug, students experienced on a small scale the distance families travel for clean water. During “Hope for Hunger” students filled a small bag with rice and beans to cook for their own dinner. They were encouraged to “feel” what it's like to experience true hunger. No snacks, no desserts, their entire supper is in their baggie.

In addition to the service-learning happening on campus, some students were able to participate in service off-campus at Good Samaritan Men’s Shelter where students visited with the men and helped with everyday chores as designed by the director.    

Another off-campus activity that took place was the Walk for Hunger, a 10-mile journey from the Chapel on the campus at Villanova University back to Malvern Prep. Every Friar in the class of 2022 has been challenged to take this walk which signifies what it is truly like for people around the globe that must travel far distances to feed their families. Thus far, 68 students and faculty have completed the challenge.

“It gives me such joy to see our students participate in these service activities and put their faith into action,” said Mrs. Catania. “At Malvern, service to others is ingrained in who we are as a community. It is a win-win because our students are impacted just as much as the people we hope to serve,” she added.
 
The results of the Christian Service Learning days in October speak for themselves. In total, 52 blankets were made for St. Patrick’s in Norristown; students assisted with packaging and delivering over 45,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger; over 42,000 seed packs were created for Seed Packing International; 30,000 seeds were packed for American Seeds; 4,200 cans of food were donated to Chester County Food Bank and St. Katherine’s, and 520 Blessing Bags were made for the homeless at Safe Harbor and Home of the Sparrow.
 
Christian Service Learning days will take place again in January and March.

Click to view photos.