Michael Moore, owner of Mikey’s Cheese Zombies.

Age: 26.

Profession: Owner of Mikey’s Cheese Zombies.

Residence: Toppenish.

Michael Moore is happy now. He’s in love. He has a family and a stable life and a job he enjoys. Back about a decade ago, that didn’t seem likely. Moore, who grew up in foster care, had turned to gangs and drugs. He aged out of the foster system, spent some time homeless and, at age 18, got shot three times including a gut shot.

Two things saved him. First, a sister of his in Louisiana who’d served in the Army and had her life more together took him in during the immediate aftermath of the shooting and got him on his feet. Second, after returning to the Yakima Valley after a friend’s death, he met his fiancée, Suzana Celestine. He stayed straight for her, and they had a son, Mikey.

Four years ago, using Celestine’s cheese zombie recipe, they started baking and selling the Inland Northwest specialty. First it was just via social media. Then in 2019, they opened Mikey’s Cheese Zombies as a physical business in the concession stand at Granger’s Hisey Park. The pandemic ended that, but the online business is thriving. Two weeks ago, Moore baked and sold 80 trays of zombies over three days, his best stretch yet. He’s looking for a new spot in which to open once the pandemic ends. And he’s giving back by volunteering and donating meals to Rod’s House, the Yakima organization serving homeless youth.

“I just want to show them, ‘You can do it too,’” he said.

Reach Pat Muir at pmuir@yakimaherald.com.

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