Poznan

Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity

Sunday Jan 13    
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Though sounding a bit like the title of a Charlie Brown Christmas Special, the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (known in PL as ‘Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy’) is actually one of Poland’s biggest non-profit charity organisations, successfully raising millions of złoty for the Polish healthcare system and under-funded public hospitals since 1993. Founded by Jerzy Owsiak - a man who can best be described as a force of nature – GOCC changes its beneficiary cause each year, but focuses on raising awareness and lots of money for children’s healthcare issues. In only its first year, the organisation raised over 1.5 million USD and its annual finale has since become the biggest event of its kind in Poland, raising over 150 million USD to date.

Once a year the Great Orchestra’s grand one-day finale is organised by volunteers in virtually every town in Poland, with hundreds of bands volunteering to play free fund-raising concerts - some 800 concerts featuring 1300 performing artists and 120,000 volunteers nationwide in 2010. The finale traditionally takes place on the second Sunday of the new year, making this year’s event January 13th. Every city in PL will be doing its part with a wide and varied programme of events as volunteers with their recognisable red collection buckets rove about encouraging everyone to reach into their pockets. This year the charitable aims of the organisation will be broadened to also include several projects benefiting the elderly as well as children. Everything concludes simultaneously across the country at 20:00 with a simultaneous fireworks display known as the ‘Light to Heaven.’ A truly virtuous and remarkably successful project, those who have enough heart to contribute will receive one as well - the iconic red sticker which you will see on everyone in town this day. Indeed the stickers are so prolific that to not have one is a bit of an embarrassment. Go on, Scrooge. ‘It’s for the kids.’

Date

Jan 13 2019
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