According to Huey Lewis, it makes one man sing, another weep, but for Amanda Moser, Director of Food Services here at ABC, it turned a path of darkness into Light.
Amanda began working with us this Fall. She and her husband have two kids biologically and have also been active in the foster care system. Amanda lives her life by simple and sweet guidelines. “I like to say ‘If you can, you should.’ As in, if you can help somebody, you should go ahead and help them. Why not? And be kind. There is already so much negativity in this world—why add to it?” She has worked off and on in the culinary arts since she was a teenager, taking a break when her children came along to focus on being a mother, but even then found herself serving in food banks and homeless shelters when she had the time. For students on ABC’s meal plan, lunch and dinner are always covered thanks to Amanda’s diligence. Beyond that, her strength of character–her giving heart, positive energy, and unique personality–bring life and morale to the Food Cache (school cafeteria) at ABC.
Her character is no coincidence; it was molded by the steady hands of unconditional love. Amanda had very little stability in her childhood, with parents who did not stay together or give her the love and guidance a child needs. “I was on my own by the time I was 12, and was in and out of other homes and group homes.” In the middle of this tragedy, however, she had gained a stepfather, “probably the only adult who cared what happened to me. Even after he and my mom split, my mom did not want me around, but my stepdad would check in on me, if I had a place to stay or if I was hungry. No matter what I did or what I said—and it was bad, I was a horrible kid—I could still go back to him. It must have been hard for him to deal with my behavior, but he never held it against me. And I don’t think I would have made it out of those years without him. I credit him with who I am today. He’s still the person I call dad. So, I have huge respect for him, and I want to be to others what he was to me.”
One can hardly ignore the beautiful parallels between her story and the story of Life presented in the Scriptures. A child begins life with no floor to walk on, has no prospects or hope of growth, but one person decided to love her, to bear with her even as her pain and trouble made her more than disagreeable, and to care for her. So that she could rise out of the darkness she was banished to, and become a healthy, stable adult, not just taking care of herself, but extending the same love that saved her to others who need it like she did.
For the last seven years Amanda and her husband have been active in the foster care system, doing everything from emergency placements to fostering to adopt, and her stepdad’s treatment enabled her to follow in his steps. “I do pretty well with teens, I think because I don’t hold their behavior against them. They can call me names, throw things at me, whatever, and I won’t hold a grudge or take offense to it, because I’ve been there, and I know they’re hurting. I have a few foster kids that I’m incredibly proud of. One girl we had for a couple years had been in and out of juvie, a 14-year-old with tattoos and piercings all over. She was the meanest little girl you could ever meet, and yet, now she’s graduated, holding down a job, not in trouble with the law, and I’m so proud of her. She comes to visit every summer.”
What a clear picture of what the Gospel does! If anyone could have seen Amanda as a 12-year-old, chances are they probably wouldn’t have said, “That little girl is going to transform lives one day.” But Jesus looked at her and said, “That’s exactly what she’s going to do.” That is the power of Love. The same Love that God offers us in Jesus. Amanda, we are so proud to have you serving our students with us!