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Chef to the Shelters, Meet Mike McCoy

Mike McCoy is a self-proclaimed “Chef to the Shelters” who uses his time, talents and resources to make beautifully tasteful meals for a growing number of Homeless Shelters and Sober Living Homes once a month, including Dallas 24 Hour Club, Simply Grace, Agape Resource and Assistance Center, and weekly meals at Magdalen House, all of which have missions that Mike personally relates.

Mike has not always lived such a humble life. With a background in sales and sports, Mike has led a life that most would view as successful. He has been able to attend events, fly private on planes, and mingle with important people, but he didn’t experience joy or purpose through any of it.

Mike McCoy cooking with help from 24 resident, Paul S.

After decades of alcoholism, Mike started working a program of recovery and was able to get sober. He had over 2 months of sobriety when he became homeless. One night, his Sponsor told him they were going to go to a Meeting, then to dinner at Sweet Tomatoes. Mike recalls feeling very uncomfortable because he didn’t have money to pay for dinner. When the tab came, his Sponsor picked it up. The next week, his Sponsor proposed the same schedule: Meeting, then dinner at Sweet Tomatoes. Mike arrived at Sweet Tomatoes 45 minutes early and ate a sleeve of saltine crackers in his car, which he was living out of at the time. When the waiter came to take his order, Mike responded with “No, thank you. I already had dinner.”

“It goes back to that package of saltine crackers. That is the principle behind why I do what I do. I remember what it was like to not have a meal. I took from so many for so long. Now, I’m the guy that gets to give back.”

To fund the meals, Mike raises money on Facebook and credits his friends and family for helping support his venture. This idea of cooking for sober living homes started when Mike was living in Arizona and house sitting for a friend who gave Mike permission to use his kitchen. Mike created a Facebook post asking for turkeys for Thanksgiving so he could feed sober living homes. He said if others supplied the turkeys, then he would take care of the sides. Within days turkeys showed up at the home, so Mike started cooking the sides, then went to sober living homes on Thanksgiving and dished out a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal.

“I can pump out food for about 250 people in my kitchen at a little over $6 per person. Two years ago, I was homeless. Now I have two refrigerators to hold all the food I’m cooking.”

Mike’s love of cooking started decades ago. Every time he received a bonus from work, he would purchase a cookbook or kitchen gadget.

“Mike cooks things the residents wouldn’t normally have. He is thoughtful in his ingredients and meals to create something special for our residents. A few months ago, we had a resident who barely got out of bed due to depression. Whenever Mike cooked, she got out of bed to get a meal from him. His friendship and support goes further than just cooking a meal. He is helping create a brand new start.” – April Horton, Communications Assistant

“I lived four decades as a self-centered, self-seeking person that I didn’t care for. I keep my Recovery because of my service. Here soon I’m going to need a third refrigerator.”


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