Bread of Life Bakery was the answer to a question that many foster homes and orphanages face: What do we do with the kids who are too old to be adopted? In 2008, Keith and Cheryl Wyse, founders of Agape Family Life House, a foster home for children with osteogenesis imperfecta, received the call to start Bread of Life Bakery to give a group of orphan handicapped young adults an opportunity to take the next step in their lives. After a “trial run” of teaching, making and baking in their own house and oven, Bread of Life Bakery finally got its own location, thankfully no farther than a stone’s throw from Agape’s facilities.
Testing different recipes, translating household baking terms, and finding ingredients made the entire journey feel impossible. Many people offered advice on where to go to find simple things like cake pans and baking powder while others suggested various tweaks to the recipes. The help and guidance was much appreciated, but the bakery remained to be a huge undertaking. Months and years went by, and with every “victory” they encountered, small or large, the vision became more and more a reality. Through perseverance, developed “guānxì” and an enticing menu, Keith and Cheryl were able to establish Bread of Life Bakery as a legitimate and highly sought bakery within the expat community.
As Bread of Life Bakery grew, so did its vision. Keith and Cheryl realized the bakery wasn’t simply about giving these young men and women a job; it was about giving them the necessary tools to prepare them for a life of independence. They wanted to give these young men and women a safe place to discover who they were and where their inner talents lied. It was at this point they also realized that to be able to reach out to as many orphaned/handicapped young adults, they would need someone to oversee the bakery fulltime, as they still held responsibilities for the foster home and for their own family.
In 2011, Danny Mun, a licensed ESL teacher with no prior professional baking or small business experience came to Agape as an intern / volunteer after hearing of the Wyses’ testimony and struggles. After an incredibly short month and a half, full of cleaning and (re)organizing, the bakery, and getting to know the staff at the bakery, Danny knew that his life in New York City had come to an end. Danny returned in February the following year and came on Agape’s staff as the bakery’s consultant and mentor after apprenticing at SCRATCHbread in Brooklyn, NY for four months.
Currently, Bread of Life Bakery continues its journey with a staff of four young adult women, all who are orphaned and handicapped. With all the Agape staff by their side, they continue to improve upon their baking techniques, expand their customer base, and provide Beijing, Langfang, and Tianjin with some of the best western baked goods around!