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A Recipe for Stone Soup


Gregory Kepferle, CEO
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County

You may have heard the legend of Stone Soup. Three strangers walk into a village, knock on doors and ask for food. The villagers are afraid and hungry themselves, each hiding what little food they have, so they don’t open their doors. The hungry trio sits and thinks. One picks up a stone and says, “I have an idea.” He announces to the village that he can make Stone Soup. Curious and skeptical, the villagers gather around. The stranger shows them the stone, and asks for a large pot of water to put on a fire. He places the stone in the water, waits for it to heat, tastes it, and says, “Ah, it is getting there, it just needs a little flavor. Does anyone have an old onion or carrot or herbs?” Villagers rush back to their homes to pull the vegetables and herbs out of their hiding places and throw them into the pot. Tasting it again, the stranger declares it is getting better, but needs some rice or pasta. Again the villagers find their hidden grains and toss them into the pot. “Oh, but a little meat would make it complete,” the stranger declares, and villagers bring out their hidden meats and add them to the simmering stew. “Ah, now we have Stone Soup!” exclaims the stranger, and the entire village and their guests sit down to enjoy the feast with plenty left over.

So often when we are faced with an overwhelming community challenge, like housing the homeless, advocating for affordable housing, welcoming immigrants or refugees fleeing war or violence, we may be tempted to hunker down and protect what we have. Or we may not know how to respond, because the problems seem so complex and enormous. Yet when we bring our gifts together to address the challenge, we find that we can create something new and exciting, like the Faith-based Winter Shelter Network launched by Holy Spirit Parish and facilitated by Catholic Charities Parish Partnerships or the Faith-based Re-entry Program collaborative with the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, Recovery Café and Catholic Charities.

Catholic Charities hopes to create more opportunities to cook “Stone Soup” by convening the 2nd Annual Convening of Catholic Social Service and Social Action Organizations on September 27 at Our Lady of Refuge from 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

This year, our gathering will focus on Immigration, Refugees, Homelessness and Housing, to understand the tremendous impact the Catholic community has and to learn more about what our community can do together on these important justice issues. All Catholic organizations, groups, and committees are invited and highly encouraged to attend. Interested participants can register now at: http://bit.ly/AnnualConvening. It’s free. A light breakfast, lunch, and Eucharist are included. For more information contact John Rinaldo, Director of Parish Partnerships at Catholic Charities at jrinaldo@catholiccharitiesscc.org.