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More and more, we as a culture are learning how people with special needs are not as incapable as we were once led to believe. This is an important step, and it’s incredible to see how much someone can achieve if they are just given the opportunities. 

A bakery in Vancouver Island, Canada knows this, and by hiring cooks with various developmental disabilities, they are giving thir employees a chance to build confidence as well as skills. 

Located in Duncan, British Columbia, The Mindful Mouthful Bakery currently employs 20 cooks with special needs. 

The bakery is run by the Ed Clements Centre Society non-profit group. They bake sweet treats like cookies and squares, but also savory meat pies.

Ed Clements Centre Society member Dominic Rockall says “it’s a training kitchen for adults with developmental disabilities to teach them life skills [and] cooking skills.”

But it’s not just skills and self-esteem that the bakery is giving them any more. 

While the cooks used to be volunteers, they are now being paid for their hard work.

The bakery hopes to be self-sustaining within three years, though it currently receives a wage subsidy from the Vancouver Foundation to aid in their quest.

Rockall explained, “It improves their self-esteem, their self-worth. People feel like, ‘I’m worthy of being paid now for my work.'”

Reviews of the baked goods are glowing, and they hope to have the products available on local store shelves and at restaurants this spring.