Great Christmas Aid Orchestra plays for children and seniors
January 14, 2013
President of WOSP Jerzy Owsiak auctioning a red heart
Crowds turned out at fundraising events across Poland Jan. 13 to collect donations for sick children and the elderly in the culmination of the 21st Great Christmas Aid Orchestra charity drive, an annual event that has become a cultural and social institution in Poland.
More than 120,000 young volunteers appeared on the streets throughout Poland, carrying characteristic collection boxes with the Orchestra's emblem: a red heart and giving red heart-shaped stickers in return for small contributions.
During the day-long event, besides street-collecting of money, numerous auctions took place in about 1,800 WOSP centers operating across the country. Donated items included all sorts of odds and ends signed by celebrities or "Golden Hearts" plated with donated gold. As part of the effort hundreds of music concerts and artistic events were also organized around the country.
This year collections and auctions were held to raise funds to improve medical treatment of newborns and infants and to purchase better medical equipment for geriatric wards in Poland.
The Great Christmas Aid Orchestra foundation was set up in 1993. Its main objective is improving life for sick people, especially children. It also promotes healthy lifestyles. Throughout the year, the WOSP buys medical equipment via tenders organized by the foundation.
Thanks to the work of the foundation, many medical centers in Poland have been equipped with state-of-the-art equipment that helps save children's lives. Nearly 700 pediatric wards in Poland use equipment provided by the charity drive.
Every year on second Sunday in January millions of Poles donate their money to the foundation during an event known as the Great Christmas Aid Orchestra finale. Last year more than PLN 47 million was raised during the event.
This year, as of the evening of Jan. 13. funds raised totaled over zl.14 million But with money still coming in, as internet auctions are still in progress, the final figure will probably be known at the end of February