Pauline had a simple wish for Christmas: to make her mom, who can no longer cook and lives with Alzheimer’s, a very special meal. Her wish was heard by Liberty’s #DriveHope campaign and soon, all the groceries (and more surprises) were on their sleigh, ready to make a difference!
Atlantis, South Africa (25 December 2023) — For Pauline Steenkamp, making her mother’s Christmas special by cooking up a small feast for her topped any wish list. However, this wasn’t just about the chance to enjoy a delicious Christmas meal together. It was about love in the face of adversity, and the knowing that sometimes, a moment of joy is all we need to push on—even if only Pauline would remember it.
Pauline’s mom, Margaret Williams (affectionately known as Mrs M from her teaching days) has Alzheimer’s. The beloved teacher dedicated 40 years of her life to giving others the gift of education and is still remembered fondly by generations of students from Kerrira Primary School.
Seeing the force of knowledge, that she was struggling so much with the disease of memory, was just one of the reasons Pauline wanted to give her a Christmas her heart would remember. The other reasons were tied to feelings many of us can relate to when it comes to wanting to give our all for those who raised us.
Hoping to get her wish off Santa’s list and into reality, Pauline nominated her mom for Liberty’s #DriveHope campaign in a bid to make the magic happen. Given all the thousands of loved ones whose lives the #DriveHope campaign has brought light to, her wish couldn’t have made its way to better helping hands.
Beyond a most-special meal, Pauline’s nomination was also a chance to give her mom the appreciation she did not always receive in her life.
“The reason why I nominate my mom is simple. She was married to a man who drank every weekend, every holiday, most of the time. She then decided she will not cook a Christmas meal, ever, because there was no one who would appreciate it. When I married and had children, I brought the tradition back to having a family Christmas meal. I always invite mom,” Pauline shared.
After moving back to Cape Town, Pauline was disheartened upon realising that her mom’s Alzheimer’s had gone from “better to worse”; to the point where Margaret can now no longer cook for herself.
“A little Christmas meal would just mean the world to her,” added her daughter in her nomination motivation.
But, the nomination also meant a lot to Pauline and the great respect and love she has for her mom.
“It’s recognition to a retired educator and mother, who does not always remember which day it is today or your name, but is still an educator (to her grandchildren) and a mother (to her children). I hope to give my mother a Christmas that she can remember, even though I will have to remind her, and she will forget, at least I will remember.”
Trade any tears welling up in your eyes for happy ones, because Pauline’s nomination has been selected by Liberty! This is both for the incredibly heartwarming place the simple wish comes from and because what is Christmas if not a time for little miracles?
Pauline received an R5000 Checkers digital voucher so she could make a full and delicious feast for Christmas Day, as well as an R2000 clothing voucher so her mom could buy new outfits!
With hope on the table and in their family’s hearts, the #DriveHope Campaign once again reminds us that sometimes, life’s small boosts can take us the farthest.
About the #DriveHope Campaign
Initially, a platform where Liberty employees could nominate their colleagues and communities experiencing tough times, the campaign became a loud reminder that small boosts matter. Whether it was a small care package for someone struggling to make ends meet or a drive for essential goods in a community that really needed it, #DriveHope has only gotten bigger and more helpful throughout the years. Now, the campaign reaches so many people beyond the company, and the next story of hope might just be yours if you make a nomination!