Communal dinner to start March 1 in Truckee |

Communal dinner to start March 1 in Truckee

TRUCKEE ” Billy McCullough and Mark Estee are busy men these days. Both are starting new restaurants at area resorts, and combined with managing their popular eateries in Truckee, rarely have time to chat. When calling their restaurants to talk, it’s not uncommon to hear an employee say, “They’re pretty slammed. Can I send you to voicemail?”

Despite their frantic schedules, McCullough and Estee are working with a group to start Stone Soup, a weekly soup night designed to bring the community together in this time of economic stress.

Local Penny Fink speaks for the group, which has partnered with Project MANA and other area charities to launch a free soup night (donations are accepted) every Sunday between March 1 and May 17. And when Fink speaks about this new venture, she sounds like most everyone in the world these days ” unsure.

“We have no idea how many people will show up,” Fink said. “We think it could be a fairly big number … We’re looking at close to 100 people, but we have no idea.”

McCullough, who operates the Dragonfly in Truckee, and Estee, who operates Moody’s, join other locals like Deb Ryan, leaders at the Truckee Recreation Department, and MANA’s Kaili Sanchez in crafting the vision of a communal pow-wow over some hot food.

Organizers want to avoid the traditional stigma attached to “soup kitchens,” and as Fink put it, “Our main goal is to bring the community together. If you’re not in need, you can come eat soup and donate some money.”

The rest of the community is taking notice, too. Fink said her group will manage the first two Sundays, but hope other groups like businesses and clubs will step in and manage future Stone Soups. At first, she wondered how many would volunteer.

“But now, I think at this point we will fill all the Sundays,” she said. “And even though we’re saying it might end May 17 when it starts to get warmer, we’re not saying that’s the end of it. We’re saying we’ll figure it out as we go based on the need and its success.”

Estee has one request for those who do plan on attending: “Bring your own bowl and spoon to save some plastic stuff, and to save all the dishes we’ll have to wash,” he said.

Sundays are still available. Organizations or individuals interested in helping can contact Penny Fink at (530) 587-8242, or at

What: Stone Soup is a weekly community soup night in times of economic stress.

Cost: Free

When: Sunday, March 1, from 4:30-7:30 p.m.

Where: Truckee Rec Center

To sponsor a Sunday: Contact Penny Fink at (530) 587-8242, or at

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