Aunty Betty puts community first

Compassionate, God-fearing, caring, loving and a people’s person are only a few words that can describe Elizabeth Adams (83) from Ocean View, one of the finalists in the 80+ category of this year’s People’s Post Spec-Savers Community Champions Elders Awards.

Despite her age, Adams runs a soup kitchen at the Dutch Reformed Church, tends to the sick in the community, makes food parcels for the needy and leads a prayer group every day of the week.

“I am blessed and am able to do all this in my community through the grace of God. In the Bible He says that you must go out into the world and spread the gospel and this is what I am doing by feeding the community, spiritually and physically. I am sharing the grace of God with all the projects that I am involved in because He is good all the time and all the time He is good,” she says.

Fifty years ago, Aunty Betty, as she is fondly referred to in the community, was forcibly removed from Noordhoek to Slangkop, now known as Ocean View, due to the Group Areas Act.

In her youth she was a domestic worker and community activist and always trusted in her ability to make a difference in her community.

Alvina Adams, her granddaughter, says: “When growing up as a kid, my grandmother was praying for her children, grandchildren and the community. She was a Sunday school teacher and always involved in church activities with my grandfather, Everett. If she had problems of her own, no-one knew because she put others first. There are no words to describe my grandmother but to me she is a woman of strength and courage to not only take on the world, but the Ocean View community. I am proud to share my grandmother with the community.”

Her compassion and caring for others are the two characteristics that drew Everett to her when he first courted her in the 1950s.

“When we got married on 28 June 1958 I never knew that she would be the social worker, preacher, feeder and provider, all rolled into one, in our ripe old age in the community. We celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary on 28 June and I am thankful for the grace and mercy the Lord bestowed on us to do His work as a couple on this earth. I was active in the brigade at the church and retired in 2008 and today my title is chauffeur and handyman when she is busy with her community projects,” Everett chuckles.

Children of all ages are dear to her heart. On Friday evenings she would invite the youth of Ocean View into her house to present spiritual and other programmes to keep them off the streets.

When Kleinberg Primary School, the first school in Ocean View, was built in 1970, she started a crèche and was the supervisor. In 1975 she assisted with the sick at Living Hope Ministries in Muizenberg but opted to rather help her community.

“The socio-economic problems in Ocean View, like unemployment, poverty and other social issues, are rife and I try to help with a food parcel or handing out soup at the church. Giving up on people or problems is not my style, and if I can help, I’ll do that,” Aunty Betty says.

When she had to retire at the age of 60 she stayed active in the community and as an elder in the church. She is also in charge of the seniors’ club in Ocean View and they have weekly meetings and gatherings.

The winners of the Community Champions Elders Awards will be announced at a special brunch taking place at Villagio Pizzeria in Pinelands on Saturday 6 October. Each finalist will receive prizes including their share of Shoprite vouchers valued at R10 000 in total, Spec-Savers vouchers for an eye test, frames and lenses to the value of R4000 each, Sunday lunch at Southern Sun Newlands for a family of five (including drinks), hampers by Dilmah Teas, and more.