A mooncake is a small Chinese cake that is traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Filled with different kind of flavours and with regional variations mooncakes are offered between friends and family members to wish longevity and harmony for each other. The festival goes far back in Chinese history and is one of the four most important Chinese festivals. Mooncakes are produced in the Amity Bakery, our social enterprise which is quite popular. Before the Mid-Autumn Festival, Amity’s bakery staff has to spend extra hours to meet the demand.
During the Mid-Autumn festival this year, Amity Bakery asked Huihui , an Amity Bakery staff to write a letter with some assistance from a Special Education teacher. The letter was then printed and placed in boxes of mooncakes and cookies from the Bakery:
Amity Bakery is a small social enterprise. It has a small shopfront in Nanjing, so small that you may have passed it by without even noticing. However, this small world is where I work every day.
I have an “intellectual disability”. Before I came here, I had never had a job or any income, because no-one had ever provided me with the opportunity. I thought that all I could be in life was a burden on my parents. Can you imagine that? I spent six weeks learning how to wear my work uniform; guess how long it took me to master baking cookies! So long that I cannot clearly remember, but I will never forget the alluring aroma of my first tray of cookies when they came out of the oven ….
God always makes me spend several (or even a few dozen!) times longer than normal people to learn a skill. I believe that this is because He wants me to be diligent, approach my learning properly, and study the skill until I apply it in my work consistently. My teacher says that food hygiene and safety is of paramount importance, and I must guarantee peace of mind for all who consume our products. My instructor taught us to use the finest ingredients, and not to add any preservatives. I have remembered and mastered this. Before, I could only stay at home and watch television. My mother was worried and I was unhappy. Now, as I leave for work each morning, my neighbours greet me with “Huihui, you’re off to work”. This makes me so happy! I know that it is not easy to get a job like this, and that I have this opportunity only because of the help of many warm-hearted people.
I value our customers’ affirmation and praise, and hope that the cookies which are placed into your hands give you a taste not only of delicious food, but also of my deep gratitude.
I am fortunate to live in Nanjing and be cared for by many people. Others in China who have an intellectual disability like me are not so fortunate. I hope that they, too, might gain the opportunity to work, and show more people that we can make the most of our modest natural talent and support ourselves. Please remember us and support us; tell your friends and family that there is such a bakery and such a group of people. Together, let us be the best we can be!
On October 8 2013, Amity Bakery received a letter from a stranger. The letter was addressed to Huang Wenhui. After Huihui had read it, she passed it on to the office. The letter read as follows:
August 29, 2013
I have not picked up my pen and written a letter in a long time―so long, in fact, that I cannot remember what time, month or year I wrote the last letter in, and where or to whom I sent it.
I took the box of mooncakes to the conference room, and shared them with my colleagues who were at the meeting. If they had just been ordinary mooncakes, perhaps no-one would have been very interested in them, but I had told everyone about what sort of an organization your bakery is. Then, some of my colleagues saw your essay and photo on the top of the box and passed them around for perusal. After they had sampled your mooncakes and cookies they were full of praise, especially for the quality of the cookies. They even took down the details of your flagship store from the web, and planned to buy some for their children.
Huihui, thanks to all of you at Amity Bakery, which I somehow stumbled across on Sina.com. Thank you for making such delicious mooncakes and cookies with your nimble hands and true hearts!
I came to write this letter at the suggestion of a friend. Coincidentally, she came to my office to discuss work, tasted your mooncakes, and listened to me talk about their origin. She also read your essay, and suggested that I write you a reply. I suppose you must receive correspondence like this just about every day, but I still wanted to offer my thanks in writing. Only because you angels have been sent among us are we able to enjoy such delicious mooncakes and cookies!
Finally, I wish you and your team a happy Mid-Autumn Festival.
(PS: Please forgive my messy handwriting; it is always this sloppy. Please also forgive that because I haven’t written a letter in so long, I have forgotten how to write. Also, thanks to all the workers at Amity Bakery!)
It is only thanks to the help of many enthusiastic people like Judy that Amity Bakery has remained in operation. Reading Judy’s letter, we were very touched. However, the letter gave no contact details such as postal address or telephone number, meaning that we had no way of reaching her. Amity Bakery has made this letter public because we want to say a big “thankyou” to Judy who wrote the letter, and the many, many enthusiastic people who care about the Bakery. Your support provides longevity for Amity Bakery and gives us the chance to continue our mission which purpose is not only producing cakes.