Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Santa’s Around-the-World Gift Ride Has Nothing on Sydney Leopold
Sydney, Norm and Penny Leopold show off some of the Sophos “Security Made Simple” Pasta that Sydney’s software company made to woo the Italians. And the Italians were impressed, Sydney said, even though pasta is in their DNA.
Friday, December 21, 2018


You always hear about Santa bringing Legos, Game Boys and Barbie Dolls to those on his Christmas list.

Less well known are the other little things that get shared and spread around at Christmas—things that, in many cases, can mean a lot to those who receive them.

Penny Leopold and her family have long seen that worthy recipients receive gift bags of toothpaste, shampoo, razors, lotion, coffee and other items each year.

Mike Ferguson and Leslie Silva show off the Emergen-C vitamin drink mixes, toothbrushes and other items they handed out to Souper Supper recipients this year.

Penny started the tradition with her husband Norm Leopold, a judge, more than 40 years ago while living in Seattle. And they enlisted their son and daughter in the effort as soon as the kids grew knee high.

They continued the tradition after moving full time to the Wood River Valley, enlisting the help of their Souper Supper cooking crew and friends who give Penny miniature shampoos and other items they pick up at hotel rooms throughout the year.

Penny’s daughter Sydney has turned into one of the most enthusiastic elves.

Sydney, a 2005 Wood River High School graduate now living in San Francisco, does a lot of traveling around the world for her company, which deals with software security.

Virginia Hollaway and Dale and Nancy Peinecke also served as elves, in addition to cooking up a dinner of hearty beef stroganoff and salad.

And she’s made a point of bringing home suitcases full of miniature champagnes, soap, sponges, hotel slippers, sewing kits, hair brushes, Italian cookies  and—yum--gourmet chocolates.

This year’s bounty even included bags of pasta that her company created to promote itself among the Italians.

“Mom’s been doing this forever,” she said. “It’s fun and so easy and it’s a great way to get in the holiday spirit. Everybody needs to celebrate, no matter what.”

This is just one of the many ways in which Penny Leopold—a Realtor--has contributed to the communities in which she’s lived. She and her family volunteered at a Jewish thrift store in Seattle. And, since they are Jewish, they volunteered to man the soup kitchen there on Christmas Day so others could have Christmas dinner at home with their families.

Since moving here, Penny has served on The Community Library board , volunteered with the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and, of course, Souper Supper.

“I love giving back to the community. Always have. Always will,” she said. “We hand these gift bags out to those who attend Souper Supper. Then we take what’s left over to The Advocates. Now we’ve got one more place to give: The new Men’s Sober House.”


Another family that gives of themselves in a big way during the Christmas season is the Nikolaison family.

The family will host a special Christmas Eve Souper Supper at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 24, at St. Charles Catholic Church Parish Hall in Hailey. Anybody and everyone are welcome.

We’re doing it in honor of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and the traditions we grew up with, said Cathy Nikolaison.

 “We have grown up in families where the door is always open and all are welcome to the table,” she added. “Our family wants to do something special and, with gratitude, we are hosting this Christmas Eve Souper Supper.”


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