View Full Version : My good deed this weekend

13th January 2008, 06:25 PM
I don't know how many of you- I'd guess most likely absolutely none- have heard of the Great Orchestra of Holiday Charity but it's a foundation that pays for the healthcare of needy people, particularly children, in Poland. As a matter of fact, it's the 2nd largest charity in Poland, ahead of even the Red Cross.

I'm unfamiliar with the history of it but it apparently started out as an effort by musicians to raise funds through concerts and busking and their biggest event is a large scale concert. They also encourage young people, musicians or not, to collect for them in a campaign a bit like Trick or Treat for Unicef. This year, they said that they are collecting mostly for treating laryngological disorders and diseases for needy children.

Here's their site and Wiki page:



So my sister's Polish school that I used to attend was collecting money and my sister's teacher talked my sister's friend into collecting money and gave her a collection box and the materials for making an ID. This despite the girl having almost no experience with soliciting (other than Trick or Treat for Unicef) and generally being pretty shy and quiet (and if you've ever had to approach complete and total strangers on the street about donating money, you know what it's like.)

She didn't collect and hadn't found anyone to do it with the first week (and it's a requirement imposed by the organization that two or more people collect together, I guess to curb the chance of stealing) and was grilled a bit about it in school. She tried to get my sister to come along but my sister, the scaredy cat that she is, wouldn't do it.

I've always liked volunteer and community service work and I knew about the bake sales and other projects run by the school to raise funds so I spontaneously gave her a donation and volunteered to do it with her and my sister agreed to come along for moral support.

We went to her house to pick up the box and get her ID made (something I insisted on, even though she and my sister didn't want to write it out at all, since they thought it was just a technicality. I made her wear it and slapped their stickers on my sister and myself) and I worked out a pitch for collecting and practised it a little and we went out and collected all over Greenpoint for about an hour and a half (my sister had to go after an hour but she stuck it out that long, to her credit.)

Even though we had just about no idea what we were doing- I had only done something like this once before and failed miserably- and none of us are any good at begging for money and would much rather mind our own buisness and not bother complete and total strangers for their cash, we did very, very well.

I think it's because I did most of the talking and I'm less shy and more confident in approaching people and asking them for something than the other two (my sister's pal can do it when she's on the spot and she's with someone else but my sister freezes) and my sister and her friend are, well, really pretty and 18-going-on-19 and 17-going-on-18.

One of the funniest incidents came when some teenagers saw us standing on the street with the box and asking for money in Polish and stopped to tease us. I was as polite and sincere as I could be and kept a smile on and patiently explained what we were doing and for what and they ended up giving us their spare change. :D And as they turned to leave, one of them said "You all look way too pretty to be doing something like this!". :blush:

Also, folks in the Polish community are in general pretty open and responsive to this sort of thing and very generous (allthough plenty of non-Poles donated very generously, too). I think it also helped to say we were collecting for poor and sick children. :)

My sister's friend even did it this morning with her sister and brothers before we delivered the money this afternoon to the Consulate (and attended the fundraiser there.)

So, believe it or not, all the money we raised over an hour and half and this morning came out to $564.64 and 21. 30 zloty, which is amazing, given that the whole school alltogether as a group raised about $2,500 thousand (somewhere over that, but I forgot the exact number). So my sister's friend and I, with some help from our siblings, raised about a fifth of the whole pool. The only team that got more than us was the school's collection boxes and bake sale (total, about 666 dollars) and they had been doing it for two weeks.

The teachers and the principal wanted a recount when they heard that number, as a matter of fact. They couldn't believe it came from one box and that my sister's friend had done it. It kind of became the talk of the ceremony, actually, and my sister's teacher lobbied the journalist covering the event to mention us in the paper. She took our names and phone numbers, so we'll see what happens with that.

Kind of amazing what you can do when you use the powers of fast-talking, charm, emotional appeals and good looks for good and not evil? :D

13th January 2008, 07:14 PM
Very nice!! There is nothing better in life than doing a good deed like this. And I say this as a mean ol' skeptical atheist. :D

13th January 2008, 08:56 PM
Thanks! If I can say so myself, I'm very proud of us. :D The fundraiser all in all brought in about 40, 000 dollars, all for a very good cause.

And speaking of religion, my sister's friend's family is very religious and they were celebrating the Epiphany yesterday (apparently that's the last day of the Christmas season is the Roman Catholic Church) which meant that a priest from the local Polish church was coming over for a house blessing ritual. That's very common in Poland (the priest writes the names of the Magi over the main door of the home in chalk as a blessing upon the home for the New Year and blesses all the rooms with holy water) but I had never celebrated it and had hardly even heard of it.

I was invited to join them after the collection and felt it would be inappropriate to refuse because it's not really customary to invite a stranger to a family event like that so I ended up partipating in the prayers.

I asked the priest for a donation afterwards and he did contribute something and Eva thought to ask to solicit in church on Sunday morning and he agreed to let her. She and her siblings actually collected alot there.

Now that's what I like, when people do put their money where their mouths are...and when money donated in church actually goes for something worthwhile. :D