Mother of the Year


* Winning mom will receive a sampler box of delicious Better Made Snacks!

2021 Mother of the Year Winner ~ Susan

* Melanie’s mom, Susan, will receive a freshly made sampler box filled with delicious Better Made products

ROCHESTER HILLS, MI – Melanie Martin of Rochester Hills submitted the winning entry in Better Made Snack Foods’ 2021 Mother of the Year contest. Her entry was touching and painted a true picture of her loving mom, Susan. For submitting the winning entry, Susan, will receive a freshly made sampler box filled with delicious Better Made Snack foods. Here is her submission:

Parenting is already a tough job, and they say it takes two, but my mom did it solo. She was our protector, motivator, nurse, teacher, and confidant. Mom did it all. There are so many memories of her “showing up” for us that it’s hard to choose just one. As an adult, I now understand how difficult that must have been for her to have so many responsibilities and three children to raise. She worked long shifts as a waitress trying to make ends meet to support us. We didn’t have much but we had each other and a lot of love.

As a youngster, I remember being in high school and wanting a class ring. I can remember showing the brochure to my mom with excitement. I also remember watching her gaze fall as she softly said, “we’ll see”. Later I realized that she likely couldn’t afford the ring and didn’t know how to tell me that. I left the brochure on the kitchen table for weeks praying and hoping the class ring fairy would visit my house but she never did.

Several months after I brought the brochure home, I realized I likely wasn’t going to get the ring. It was unfair for me to ask for such a frivolous item when sometimes coming up with our rent was a huge feat for Mom. She worked so hard and did her best to give us everything but I was starting to come to terms with the fact that she couldn’t give me this. I was disappointed but understanding.

In the spring of my junior year, Mom told me we had an appointment somewhere in town. She was very vague about the details and I figured this was some sort of surprise. So, I went along with it. I was slightly confused when she pulled into the local jeweler’s parking lot. I looked at her with confusion on my face. She smiled with the biggest grin. “Well, let’s go get you that class ring”, she said. My eyes welled up with tears of joy. Apparently, she had been saving for months to get me this ring.

Most adults I know couldn’t tell you where their high school ring is but I still wear mine. I wear it because it is a symbol of my mother’s love. When I look at it, I think about the struggle and hardships she had to overcome so that we could live a better life. I think about the extra shifts she had to pick up in order to pay for that ring and how a mother’s love can make dreams come true. My mother is an incredibly loving and strong woman. She is the light in our lives and the reason I want to nominate her for Mother of the Year.

“This is a great example of how caring some moms really are and to what lengths they will go to make a young girl’s dreams come true,” says Cathy Gusmano, CEO of Better Made Snack Foods. “Melanie’s story is very touching and demonstrates a strong, loving bond between mother and daughter.”

2020 Mother of the Year Winner ~ Nanaz Macarthur

* Nanaz’s daughter, Kelly MacArthur, writes a beautiful tribute to her mom

DETROIT, MI – Kelly MacArthur of St. Louis, MO submitted a beautiful tribute to her mother, Nanaz MacArthur, for all she has endured and all she did to give the family the best life possible. It’s one of those stories that warms the heart and shows what it truly means to be a loving mother. Nanaz is Better Made Snack Food’s 2020 Mother Of The Year, and for winning, she will receive a sampler box filled with delicious Better Made Snack foods. Here is Kelly’s submission:

Maybe it was the great school lunches she made for you or letting friend’s camp out in the backyard when you were younger, or maybe she has become your best friend in life – someone you can talk to about anything. No matter your age or reason, we want to know. The mom that is chosen will receive a sampler box containing an assortment of delicious Better Made Snack Foods!

“Traditionally, moms are the glue that keeps everyone in the family together,” says Cathy Gusmano, Better Made Retail Store and Internet Manager. “They mean the world to us and do so very much for us, even when we don’t realize it. They’re like superwomen with all they do. Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvi many years ago, and is celebrated in the Untied States and other parts of the world. We’re happy to acknowledge all moms everywhere.”

2019 Mother of the Year Winner’s ~ Dee-Dee Rouse & Barb Tessier

* Both winners will receive a box of delicious Better Made Snack Food!

FORT WORH, TX – Courtney Rouse of Fort Worth, Texas wrote a beautiful essay about her mom and is the first place winner in the 2019 Better Snack Foods Mother of the Year contest. Another essay, written by Mel Tessier of Chesterville, Ontario was so compelling that two prizes were awarded this year. For being chosen Mother of The Year, both will receive a sampler box containing 15 bags of different delicious Better Made products. Congratulations to both moms! Here are excerpts from both essays:

Courtney Rouse on her mom Dee-Dee
“If I could describe my mom in a word it would be “Survivor”. My mom Dee-Dee has not only endured being a single mother of three girls who were never easy to handle, but also working full time for as long as I can remember, the loss of a sister, father, and mother, leaving her the last one left of her family. Most recently she was diagnosis with stage two Ovarian Cancer. For some this list might be seemingly filled with obstacles impossible to overcome, but for my mom it was just another day in her life. She has been a constant pillar of strength and always provided love, encouragement, and support to all of us. I have never wanted for anything because of my Moms sacrifice to be there for her family. She held down a fulltime job yet she always managed to be there for us girls no matter what. My mom never gave up even through Chemotherapy – she showed me the true meaning of a fighter. This mothers day I would like to honor my mom and her courageous attitude with the title Mother of the Year. I cannot think of a better way to say Happy Mothers Day.”

Barb Tessier, submitted by Melissa Tessier
“My mom grew up in Ottawa, Canada. She and my dad met and fell in love when they were teenagers. They married, built their home, and had 3 daughters. My sisters and I grew up in a perfect world as my parents never fought. We lived in the same home our whole lives and we never had to move homes until we were old enough to move out. Mom took us to church every Sunday and we ate dinner every single night at the dinner table as a family. My parents did an amazing job and continue to honestly be the best parents ever! We never went to bed wondering if they loved us because they made sure we knew every single day how loved we were. About five months ago our family got devastating news that our mom has stage four pancreatic cancer. It was quite the shock to us all because my mom didn’t feel sick at all. My mom is beyond strong though and for the past few months has been having chemotherapy treatments every two weeks, and yet still, somehow, holds our family together. Growing up, my mom was everyone’s Mom and the door to our home was open to anyone. Many of our friends consider my mom their second mom because she cared about everyone around her. She would always make sure our friends knew they were always welcome. My mom is the kindest most caring thoughtful sole I know. My mom deserves to be celebrated every single day of the year but especially on Mothers Day!”

2018 Mother of the Year Winner ~ Carol Dannewitz

* Jeffrey’s beautiful essay tells of a mom with courage and determination despite Spinal Bifida

WARREN, MI – Carol Dannewitz of Warren has been chosen as Better Made’s 2018 Mother of The Year! She was nominated by her loving son Jeffrey, from Myrtle Beach, who wrote a beautiful essay about her courage, determination, and how Spinal Bifida hasn’t dampened her zest for life. For being chosen Mother of The Year, Carol will receive a sampler box containing 15 bags of different delicious Better Made products. Here is Jeffrey’s essay:

“My mom grew up in Detroit and now resides in Warren. As a child she loved to go to Better Made back in the day when they gave away burnt chips. She raised two children on her own while working and attending college, and basically played the roles of a mother and a father. She took my sister and me to many events and was very involved in our lives. She was a den mother, a bowling administrator when I was young, and too many other things to list.

She was always there for us. She also answered calls for a crisis line in Metro Detroit. She’s a life-long Detroit Tigers fan and Detroit Red Wings nut. She was able to attend her first game at the Joe a few years back, which will always be in her memory. I attended a Detroit Tigers game with her on her 65th birthday. Despite having Spinal Bifida, she is still very active and sent some Better Made chips to me here in Myrtle Beach for Christmas. Since we don’t have them here, it was quite a treat! They’re the best chips ever. I’m very proud to be her son.”

2017 Mother of the Year Winner ~ Wendy Greve

* Greve’s essay chosen as the 2017 winning entry for Better Made’s Mother Of The Year

MT. PLEASANT, MI – Wendy Greve of Mt. Pleasant has always admired the loving nature of her mom, Vicky Madosh. Based on Greve’s short essay, Vicky has been chosen as Better Made’s 2017 Mother of the Year winner. For winning, Vicky will receive a sampler box containing 15 bags of different delicious Better Made products. Here is Wendy’s essay:

My Mom is very generous and has always been there for everyone! Even when she had little, she would give it away to help someone else. That’s just one of the many things I truly love about her. And, she’s the best grandma ever! Despite her many health issues she will set them aside to help anyone who needs her.

“We all grew up loving the taste of Better Made, especially my mom,” says Greve. “Since she was so giving for so long, we are all thrilled that she won this year’s contest.”

2016 Mother of the Year Winner ~ Rosemary Ference

* Rosemary receives the surprise gift of a lifetime at age 78!

Rosemary Ference who is 78 years old never experienced the joy of being a grandmother, and at her age and her husband being 82, she thought she never would. Then one day her daughter, Michelle Manery, and her son-in-law, Robert “Chip” Manery came over with a specially wrapped package for her.

For the life of her Rosemary could not figure out why she was receiving a gift. After all, it wasn’t her birthday or any other special day. She opened the package with much anticipation only to find a picture frame with a small, grainy, black and white photo in it. She stared at it for the longest time before she realized what it was – an ultrasound photo of her soon-to-be granddaughter, Summer Rose Manery, now eight months old. Rosemary laughed and cried with joy.

Rosemary read about the contest in a local paper and decided to nominate her daughter for Mother of the Year, but her letter was so touching, that she was actually chosen as the winner. She was very happy and surprised to learn that she had been chosen, as she had never won anything in her life, until now. “We couldn’t believe it when we found out we were going to be grandparents, especially at our ages and having hoped so long. We really didn’t have much to think about except health problems, but little Summer Rose has brought us back to life. We are truly blessed!”

“Rosemary doesn’t have a computer and sent in a hand written entry letter,” says Cathy Gusmano of Better Made. “We were so touched by her pure joy that we decided to make her our Mother of the Year winner, and deservedly so. Grandchildren are a true gift and we hope that Rosemary and her husband get to spend a lot of time with little Summer Rose.”

2014 Mom of the Year Winner ~ Angie Gillespie

I am the oldest child in my family, and know my mother, Angie, very well. My mom is the best mother around, and the only mother for us, so even if she doesn’t win the title, she has already earned it with us. I believe that my mother should be mother of the year because of her courage, positive attitude, loving nature, and genuine personality that is pure and wonderful”.

My mother is the mom of eight children, ages 4 to 17. She has been a single mother for the past three years, raising, providing and caring for her children all by herself. She hardly complains about the hard task before her every day, but instead pulls herself out of bed each and every morning ready to tackle the day with hope and faith shining in her eyes. Her days are long and tiring. Seven of her eight children have been diagnosed with autism, and many of her children have other medical problems.

During Christmas, her six-year-old son was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease. Because of this, her days are spent making several trips to Seattle Autism Center and Children’s Hospital, and many other cities for her children and their multiple doctor appointments and therapy sessions.

Because of how much her children need her, my mother has decided not to return to work but to instead give up her pride to ask for financial aid. This isn’t easy. The paperwork and meetings are long and painful. And my mother, who has her Bachelor’s Degree, often wishes there was a better way. But this is how she can be a ‘stay-at-home mom’ for her children. She loves her children, she loves us, absolutely and perfectly. Although she is not perfect; with her cranky days, moments of doubt, and times of craziness, she is always there for us. I can always count on her to listen to me, even when I am wrong. I can always know that when I need help, she’ll be the first to be at my side.

This is my mother. She has taught me so much like honesty, virtue, courage, strength, personal integrity, benevolence, hope, faith, endurance, personal self-worth, and value. She has inspired me to be all I can be, and nothing less. She has more strength than anyone we know. This award would be our way of saying “Thank You for being our Mom, because no one could do it like you do.