The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (GOCC) is Poland’s biggest charitable foundation, helping collect money for children’s hospital equipment. They’ve been saving lives for over twenty years now! Every year just after Christmas the foundation starts collecting donations, a charity drive that ends with concerts and events all across Poland, dubbed ‘The Great Finally’. Every year around this time the media is abuzz doing their part to promote the foundation, and while listening to the radio yesterday I’ve learned that in some hospitals across Poland if it wasn’t for this charity drive there would be no life saving equipment, period! Polish health care is a pretty broken system that’s been overhauled time and again with no real life results. The GOCC skips all the bull shit and tells the citizens of Poland the sad truth straight; we need to buy this equipment for this cause, this is how much it costs, and here’s where it will go if we get the money to buy it. And for over 20 years now people have reacted with passion.
Every donation is rewarded with a red heart label and today Wrocław was flooded with hearts! It’s such a great feeling to see how many people participated in this cause. Volunteers with donation ‘cans’ crisscrossed the city today and even police robots did their part in collecting donations.
GOCC is so well known for their great work that pretty much every major government agency, hobby club, dealership, etc., does their part in collecting money for kids. It was a little odd seeing soldiers patrolling the city today, in full uniforms, guns, grenades and all. There were full blown commando squads walking around, too. Scary looking dudes, with red hearts plastered on their automatic weapons. The police department, firemen, search and rescue squads, army, everyone was collecting even the smallest of donations. Smaller clubs did their part, too. A local motorcycle club showed up even though it snowed in a couple of inches of powder over night, and an off-road club gave rides to kids on a small obstacle lot. There were plenty of musicians scheduled to play throughout the day, I happened to be there when a young all-girl band was up, and they did pretty good for a garage band.
Seeing it all was great, but here’s what really made my day. The lady seen below casually walked up to this hobbyist with an old gun arsenal and asked if she could hold the automatic rifle. When the guy tried to show her how to use it she full told him “Son, I lived through the war and shot this before, have you?” People around couldn’t stop laughing as this lady kept talking about her shooting skills and basically schooling the guy on his on weapon. She mentioned some awards she got back in the day for her bravery and it was really interesting, albeit a bit funny, to hear her talk.