Micah Raskin is a regular volunteer with soup kitchens and other New York-based groups aiming to improve the lives of the needy by purchasing, cooking, and serving food. Here, he discusses how the simple act of making food for others can have a tremendous impact on individuals and families everywhere.
A seasoned chef, Micah Raskin has found a passion for cooking that he uses to benefit his family and his neighborhood in Queens and Nassau County NY. He regularly volunteers with local soup kitchens where he helps supply and prepare meals that are then served at no cost to those in need.
“I think most people don’t understand how large of a difference cooking a meal for someone else can have in the lives of people anywhere,” says Micah Raskin. “It eliminates the need for people to go out and purchase raw materials; it saves them from prepping and cooking–which, in itself, requires access to expensive kitchen appliances, and it doesn’t require anything more from them than sitting down and enjoying a warm meal. In addition, they likely won’t have to do anything other than throw away plates and utensils or else pass them onto a dishwasher.”
Micah Raskin has worked for years with the local soup kitchen in his neighborhood in Nassau County NY, where many go hungry every night. People who come to the kitchen for food may be runaways, homeless individuals, struggling teens, or people facing something so extreme they are unable to find sustenance during any given day. His and other volunteers’ contributions make a real difference in the lives of those suffering in their own neighborhoods.
“As a society, we have such an abundance of food available everywhere we go that it’s difficult for many to comprehend how people can go without eating, but it happens every day,” says Micah Raskin. “People may be surrounded by food, but many don’t even have enough funds to purchase a single meal from a food chain or groceries from a corner market.”
Besides donating and cooking food for his local soup kitchen, Micah Raskin also cooks meals for his elderly parents each day, demonstrating how cooking a single meal can make a tremendous difference. And, Raskin notes, cooking for others also has a large impact on our own psyche.
“Cooking for others is fulfilling because we’re satisfying a survival need and inevitably gain a huge sense of fulfillment because we’ve helped others in the most basic, primal way we can,” says Micah Raskin. “You’re giving people something they need to survive, which they can’t get on their own. It’s a very rewarding experience on many levels, some immediately recognized and some not.”
Additionally, Raskin believes cooking for others helps people form bonds with others and fosters a sense of community, trust, and purpose, which can lead to decreased depression and increased well-being for everyone.