SRM’s culinary artists talk turkey about lessons of cooking and life - Springs Rescue Mission SRM’s culinary artists talk turkey about lessons of cooking and life - Springs Rescue Mission

The cooks and chefs of Samaritan’s Kitchen and Mission Catering really hustle this time of year.

During the holidays, it’s a constant grind to prepare for Springs Rescue Mission’s annual “Great Thanksgiving Banquet” and “Christmas For All” community outreach meal. They prepare close to 2,000 plates for those two events alone — not to mention the 40,000 or so meals Samaritan’s Kitchen prepares in November and December, and the many holiday events covered by Mission Catering during that same time.

To recognize the hard work that these folks do for Springs Rescue Mission and for the community, we sat down with a few of them to talk about their experience in the kitchen, their servant hearts and what they’ve learned so far.


Tyler started as a cook at Samaritan’s Kitchen in 2013. In the six years he has worked for Springs Rescue Mission, he has transitioned from cook to chef and is now the Director of Work Initiatives and Enterprise. He oversees the operations of Samaritan’s Kitchen, Mission Catering and Mission Culinary Academy.

What’s something you’ve learned since being here?

“I think I’ve learned a lot about compassion. … Before I started here, I really wanted to work at the Mission but I didn’t know a whole lot about what we did here. I was used to a different life, and I came into an environment where everything was totally different.”

What do you like about the holidays when it comes to cooking and serving the community?

“I like the holidays because everything is more significant — it means more. … If you put together a great holiday meal or a really nice catering event, people appreciate it even more than usual. It’s difficult but rewarding.”

What do you think is the best thing about all of this, especially Mission Culinary Academy?

“Mission Culinary Academy really gives them an opportunity to learn and to be successful — and it’s available to anyone [in the kitchen or Mission Catering]. … But you get out of it what you put in.”


A Maine native, Lukas was brought to Colorado Springs by the Air Force. After he got out, he began attending Paragon Culinary School — from which he will soon graduate. He started working as a cook at Springs Rescue Mission in February and moved to a chef position earlier this year.

What has your experience in the kitchen been like so far?

“It’s been amazing. A little crazy at times, but I’ve learned a lot. It’s really great to watch the guys grow to become leaders.”

What’s something you’ve learned working here?

“I’ve learned that impact is something that you do every day. You plant a seed and you watch that seed sprout and grow. … If you continue forward, trust in God and do what you’ve got to do, it really does pay off.”

Did you ever imagine you’d be a chef at a Rescue Mission?

“No, I never thought I’d be cooking, but God led me to cooking and led me here. And this has made me want to go to Bible college and become a minister. I really do believe God has me here for a reason.”


Jason worked in kitchens for years before he entered the New Life Program. While in the program, he participated in workreadiness at Mission Catering and, after graduating in 2016, he received an internship to cook. Now, less than four years since his graduation for the program, he is manager.

What do you most enjoy about what you do at Mission Catering?

“I love it because it gives me the opportunity to show them that it works – that God works in our lives. The food is just kind of a bonus.”

Why is Mission Catering important to Springs Rescue Mission?

“Everything we do goes back to the Mission. It’s good to show the community that people do get better, that they are worth something. Showing people that what the Lord is doing through the Mission works.”

What have you learned while working at Mission Catering?

“I learned about being professional, cooking food the right way. … And personally, I’ve learned self-confidence, I’ve learned patience, I’ve learned trust – I’ve learned how to be successful. I’ve learned that I can be a good example to these men.”


Mandalyn is a New Orleans native but spent years living in Texas until moving to Colorado Springs in 2016. In August 2018 she began working for Mission Catering and considers it a calling.

What do you most enjoy about what you do at Mission Catering?

“I like that we get to talk about God. This is the first job I’ve had where I’ve been able to do that. … And that I get to cook and serve the community. That’s awesome.”

Why is Mission Catering important to Springs Rescue Mission?

“I’ve always wanted to advocate for the homeless. … I prayed about it and asked God to put me in a position to serve. It’s like my hand is in what God is doing, and that’s the best part.”

Why is the Mission’s work special to you personally?

“They’re doing something that a lot of other people aren’t doing – that’s meeting people where they are. Even if you’re in a bad place, even if you’re not walking with God, they still serve you. I think that’s beautiful.”


Tyrone entered the New Life Program in February and started as a cook in Samaritan’s Kitchen soon after. Originally from SouthCarolina, Tyrone’s family moved to Widefield when he was 12. After years of substance abuse and living on the streets, he’s grateful for the opportunity to give back.

What has your experience in the kitchen been like?

“It has been a lot different than I thought it would be, because I found out this is something that I really like doing – and I guess I’m pretty good at it.”

What’s something you’ve learned?

“I think the main thing I’m learning is that God has a desire for me. Through all of this, I feel him saying, “you are mine.” … But I’ve also learned a whole lot about cooking.”



Michael came into the New Life Program in January and is expected to graduate in early 2020. He worked in Samaritan’s Kitchen for the first few months of the program before joining the Mission Catering team during the summer.

What do you most enjoy about what you do at Mission Catering?

“I look forward to coming to work. It’s fun and I really enjoy being here. Everyone has a great attitude – everyone is always in a good mood and lifts everyone else up.”

Why is Mission Catering important to Springs Rescue Mission?

“I think it’s really good because all of the money goes back to the Mission. It lifts up the Mission. … We get out in the community and talk about the Mission. … And I think it lifts up the community – it’s something positive.”



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About the Author - Cameron Moix

Cameron Moix is the Content Marketing Coordinator for Springs Rescue Mission. Originally from central Arkansas, he holds a BA in mass communications (print journalism emphasis) from the University of Arkansas - Little Rock. Most of his career has been spent in print journalism, including four years as a reporter for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.