Name and History

The tale that parallels our own journey, and the story behind our inspired start…


Once upon a time…

There was a great war that went on for many years. Everyone suffered. Many crops were destroyed, and people began to hoard what food they had. At last the war was over and the soldiers were sent home.

One soldier walked for three days over mountains and through valleys. He was tired and very hungry. He stopped in a village and knocked on the door of every house, but was turned away time after time. They had needs of their own. They had nothing to share.

Still the soldier persisted. He began a fire in the middle of the village square. He took his ration pot, filled it with clean, cold water, and placed a perfectly round, smooth stone into it. He began stirring and adding imaginary seasonings, tasting it from time to time.

Curiosity overcame the villagers as they peeked through their curtains and watched the strange event. Finally a woman came out of her home with the skin of an onion and offered it to the pot. “Soup is better with onion,” she said.

She was promptly followed by another who offered the tip of her carrot, and another who offered a used soup bone, and on and on until soup happened! And what a glorious soup it was. Plenty to share with the whole village…

The moral of the story: Everyone has something to share. And when you share, the whole community benefits – even you.


For many years…

The foursquare block of Fresno’s El Dorado Park neighborhood was known as Sin City. People lived in fear. Children hid behind locked doors and peered through windows to a world of gangs, drugs, and violence.

One day, a young Cambodian boy, just eight years old, walked into a resettlement office on the campus of Wesley United Methodist Church. He carried a loaded gun and placed it squarely on the desk of Kathy Garabed. Recruited by a local gang to carry out their next hit, he had come in search of help and hope.

Kathy was determined to gain support on behalf of this courageous young man and so many others. To cultivate good will and bring about change through action. Many doors in the community were at first closed. Still she persisted, approaching a few concerned citizens who stepped forward to offer their own time, skills and talents. With imagination and real vision, they became the cornerstone for prevention as friends and role models to children through programs offering a replacement to violent activities. They became a source of hope to young and old alike as glorious things happened.

For almost two decades, curiosity has overcome individuals and organizations as they peek into the neighborhood and community to see real progress. A dramatic drop in crime. Kids learning, growing and leading – successfully negotiating college and life. Generations and cultures coming together. Lives changing among volunteers as well as participants.

As the progress continues, communities and organizations across the country continue looking to Stone Soup Fresno as an inspiration and model for programs that stir such positive change.