Behind the melodious name "Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity" there is no orchestra at all - but its work is even more beautiful than music for many people. The "Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy" (WOŚP) is a non-governmental charity in Poland. It raises funds to support and improve paediatric medicine and nursing care for the elderly in geriatric and long-term care. The Stiegelmeyer Group works closely with WOŚP.
Founded in 1993 by the Polish journalist and philanthropist Jerzy Owsiak, the organisation has become one of the most important charity foundations in Poland and one of the largest public fundraising initiatives in the world. It all started with a single fundraising event for children’s cardiac surgery and treatment on 3 January 1993. But when over 1.5 million US Dollars were raised the initiators decided to establish the foundation to manage the donations.
Now, every year people across Poland and many active Polish communities worldwide donate money during more than two dozen local Charity events as well as online year-round. Over the years, the fundraising efforts have grown to include a vast network of volunteers, music performances, auctions, and other activities aimed at raising awareness and funds. Today, around 120,000 volunteers are involved. The highlight of the fundraising campaign is a big one-day fundraising marathon: the "Grand Finale". This takes place on a Sunday in January and is broadcast on television. To thank the many volunteers and supporters, the foundation organises the Pol'and'Rock Festival every summer. It is Europe’s largest free open-air festival.
Since the first event 30 years ago, the foundation has raised over 1.8 billion Polish złoty, or over 400 million US dollars, which has been used to purchase almost 70,000 pieces of medical equipment for paediatric and geriatric wards throughout Poland. In addition, the foundation started eight medical initiatives and one educational program.
We are very proud that our team at Stiegelmeyer in Stolno has cooperated with the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity for the past 13 years. The foundation has purchased a total of 18,000 products from Stiegelmeyer Sp.zo.o, including more than 3.000 medical beds and 2,400 bedside cabinets for patient rooms. All beds are being fitted with the foundation’s colourful stickers at our local product facility in Stolno. Our team in Stolno has received several awards for the good cooperation.
The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity is a great example of what can be achieved when people come together for a common cause. It has become an important part of Polish culture and tradition.