Bye, Bye, Betty!

After 19.5 years as the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society’s food services coordinator, Betty Anderson is hanging up her apron.

We caught up with the hardworking smooth operator for a quick Q&A in the Seniors Centre kitchen, from which she has overseen the tremendously popular Seniors Lunch Program and coffee bar throughout the years.

Recipient of the society’s inaugural Outstanding Service Award in 2017, Betty has earned a reputation for being reliable, loyal, resourceful, skillful, caring, collaborative . . . the list goes on. She will be greatly missed. Her last day was July 7.

Here’s how our conversation went:

KCCS: When you started, was the Seniors Lunch Program as popular as it is today?
B.A.: When I first started, there was maybe 15 people on Saturdays and maybe 40 each weekday. The average today is probably 120 a day, including takeout . . . it’s gotten way busier.

KCCS: What have been your biggest challenges working here?
B.A.: When the equipment dies. You can’t just get a fix in a snappity-snap . . . . And sometimes, just when it’s really crazy, trying to make sure you don’t run out of anything. I’m getting better now.

KCCS: What are you most proud of during your time here?
B.A.: The community base. It’s not about the food, it’s about the community and people being here a long time . . . the volunteers, the staff . . . it’s teamwork that we have in the kitchen. And I feel proud of what we’ve created, how busy it’s gotten. And how we look after the seniors.

KCCS: What is your favourite memory or story?
B.A.: When the ceiling caved in because the pipe burst. Or getting here in a snowstorm and no one else came. We’ve had so many stories here.

KCCS: Out of all the meals served here, which are the most popular?
B.A.: Fish and chips, and liver and onions.

KCCS: Do you like liver and onions?
B.A.: God, no [laughing]. I do it for the seniors.

KCCS: What advice do you have for the next food services coordinator?
B.A.: Patience. Patience is a virtue.

KCCS: What’s next for you and your husband?
B.A.: We bought a house and we’re moving to Medicine Hat. It’s a new stage in life, more quiet. I’m going to keep working, it might be something completely different, and I want to volunteer . . . It’s been great here and I love it. It’s sad leaving, it really is. It’s just time.

Betty might be moving on, but you can still create some of her dishes at home thanks to recipes she began sharing during the pandemic under Betty’s Kitchen on the Seniors Centre webpage.


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