The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (WOŚP) is a foundation operating since 1993, whose main tasks are activities in the field of health protection, first of all focusing on children’s health and life, as well as promoting health prophylaxis. The WOŚP conducts all-year medical activities, and the WOŚP finals and Przystanek Woodstock stand out among the annual actions.
The Foundation was founded in Warsaw on March 2, 1993 by Jerzy Owsiak, Lidia Niedźwiedzka-Owsiak, Bohdan Maruszewski, Piotr Burczyński, Paweł Januszewicz, Walter Chełstowski and Beata Bethke. Originally, the action was initiated by the BRUM TOP magazine – Friday’s program of the III PR program conducted by Jerzy Owsiak – spontaneous donations were sent via Owsiak and PR to children with congenital heart defects. The idea of founding the foundation was born after the successful action of collecting money on January 3, 1993, started by Owsiak in a musical program broadcast by the second channel of Polish Television “Róbta co chceta” (Do what you want).
The first finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity was held in Ciechocinek (Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship), where the band Zdrowa Woda played together with Jurek Owsiak. The Grand Finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity has become a regular event permanently inscribed in the Polish calendar and at the same time became part of Polish culture. Every year in many parts of Poland are organized concerts, festivals, festivals, happenings, which are invited to the stars of Polish pop music, as well as foreign artists who often play for free, and various cultural and sports events take place. Every year, more than 120,000 volunteers who are willing to settle on the city streets report to the Foundation.
The finals of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity are also accompanied by the auction of “Golden Hearts” performed by the Polish Mint and “Golden Phone Cards” provided by Telekomunikacja Polska, as well as auction items donated by various persons, organizations or companies. Items that are subject to the auction are usually passed on by public figures such as artists, athletes, politicians and journalists.
Every year during the finals of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, one main goal is selected for which the collected funds are to be allocated. During the first meeting in 1993, the goal was to support the treatment of heart disease in the Department of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at the Warsaw Children’s Health Center.
In the following years, money was collected, among others for neonatal departments, oncology clinics, rescuing children after accidents and first aid training, supporting diagnostics, treatment standards and medical care for seniors.
The WOŚP Foundation funds and conducts five medical and one educational programs throughout the year:
- The program of Universal Hearing Screening in Newborns
- National Program of Early Diagnostics of Children
- Nationwide Program of Treatment of Insulin Pumps Children with Diabetes (closed program)
- A Treatment Program for Individual Insulin Pumps of Pregnant Women with Diabetes
vasive Breath Support Program for Newborns
- Program for the treatment and prevention of premature retinopathy
- Educational Program “Save and Learn to Save” (the inauguration of the program took place in Opatówek near Kalisz)
In addition to the annual WOŚP finale, which takes place in January, the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation organizes “Przystanek Woodstock”, which takes place at the turn of July and August and is a thank you for the activity and support in the collection of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity. The Foundation also runs medical and educational programs, first aid training, Peace Patrol, the “Safe Stadiums” campaign, and in 2010 carried out the “Stop Floods!” Campaign for the purchase of equipment for fighting floods.