One chef oversees nearly 150,000 meals each year for an Aurora homeless shelter

Bad weather during Thanksgiving week was cause for a lot more meals at the Aurora Day Resource Center, but chef Robert Mosley has the kitchen working in overdrive.

Chef Robert Mosley cooks dinner for people who will stay overnight at the Aurora Day Resource Center on the Anchutz Medical Campus. Nov. 25, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Chef Robert Mosley cooks dinner for people who will stay overnight at the Aurora Day Resource Center on the Anchutz Medical Campus. Nov. 25, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

KEVIN-lighter

The Aurora Day Resource Center was “activated” just before snowflakes began to fall on Monday.

When temperatures dip below 30 degrees and there’s a chance of snow — a certainty, this week — the day center for Aurora’s unhoused becomes a 24-hour shelter. It would last until Thanksgiving, and it meant Chef Robert Mosley had more meals to cook than normal.

But Mosley was up for the task. He learned to cook at his family’s Park Hill restaurant when his mother and auntie ran the place. He learned to cook a lot when he was working at Lowry Air Force Base. He said it just takes organization and, because he’s responsible for washing all of his dishes, strategic management of his pots and pans.

Every day, Chef makes enough food to feed residents at three of Mile High Behavioral Healthcare’s shelters. One is the day center. Another is the Comitis Crisis Center, where his tiny kitchen is housed.

It’s a pursuit he’s passionate about, and he cares very much that the dishes he’s prepped are as good as people could find anywhere.

“I make it just like I make it if I was cooking at home,” he said. “Just because people are homeless don’t mean they can’t have good food.”

On Nov. 1, Mosley received 52 turkeys for a Thanksgiving feast held across all three shelters. He managed to cook them all in just 10 days.

“This is my first year here, but it wasn’t my first rodeo,” he said, laughing. “I was happy that that got done and I have time to work on the sides, you know?”

Mosley grew up in Denver, and he said he’s seen the city change tremendously. He’s known people who had brushes with homelessness. He said quickly rising rents across town caught some people off guard. And while the economic situation here isn’t ideal, he’s happy he can play a part to ease some peoples’ pain.

“If this is the best thing I can do for anybody, cook good food, I think this is a blessing that God made me here to do this,” he said. “But I’ll be here. I’ll be here cooking the food up for them.”

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