Deb Hage and the Community Dinner
Published November 4, 2018
Every Tuesday evening, hundreds of Summit County residents come together for a tradition that has endured for a decade: A warm, nutritious meal, lots of helping hands and most important, the reminder that our community is more than its buildings and mountains — it’s the people who make it home. Behind the Summit County Community Dinner at the Elks Lodge is a remarkable Town resident, Deb Hage.
Deb has been in Silverthorne for 35 years and has loved being part of the town culture. She raised 10 children here, and her husband Paul, who passed away last November, was an early rec center member — his membership pass was number 10. Deb fondly remembers Silverthorne’s Saturday Parades. Her family of 12 frequently won the fall event with Silverthorne-themed costumes including “Silverthorne Bowls Us Over,” which featured the Hage family dressed as bowling balls and pins, and “No Dragon Around in Silverthorne,” which featured a fire-breathing Hage dragon. The Hage family won so many times that the town gave them a trophy when they retired the parade.
After her kids grew up, Deb went back to school for a degree in social work, and after graduating, she started an international adoption agency in her basement. Deb traveled the world to help orphans — finding them homes and raising money to help provide them with things like adequate shelter, food and transportation. Her humanitarian work doesn’t stop there; Deb has also worked to build homes, clinics, schools and retirement facilities in developing countries.
But in 2009, Deb’s focus shifted to the community right here in Silverthorne. She noticed that members of her own community were holding down two, sometimes three, jobs and still struggling to make ends meet. Rallying the efforts of Rotary Club of Summit County and Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church, Deb launched the Community Dinner at the local Elks Lodge, where every Tuesday evening 10 volunteers serve a free hot meal complete with dessert. Since its inception, the Community Dinner has served close to 150,000 meals.
Deb, who has continued her commitments to Silverthorne and to this program even after the passing of her husband Paul, says the Community Dinner runs like a well-oiled machine these days, but it does take an army. She estimates that upwards of 800 people volunteer throughout a year, and many groups come to help more than once. Running the program takes about $35,000 annually. Most of that money comes from the towns of Summit County as well as grants through the Rotary Club.
If you are in need of a free meal, stop by the Community Dinner at the Elks Lodge in Silverthorne from 5–7 p.m. each Tuesday.