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Chuck Piekarski, the pastry chef at the New York City nonprofit God’s Love We Deliver, recently turned out his 9,000,000th cake – because every tray that gets delivered to seriously ill people must have a bit of sweetness in it. He joined the agency in the early years of the AIDS crisis after answering a newspaper advertisement; he didn’t know it existed, though his own lover died of the disease four years earlier. He’s stayed ever since, as the group’s mission has broadened, baking cakes and holding court, despite other offers for more money; this is his vocation, it’s where he wants to be. On a client’s birthday the cake is a little bigger and fancier than usual; he decorates each one himself. (Hilary Swift/The New York Times)

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