Among Poles in Poland and abroad, Jurek Owsiak (and his pink glasses), is regarded as a national hero. His monumental creation, The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (GOCC, Polish Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy, WOŚP) raises millions of dollars every year to help purchase medical equipment for ill children. Every January, during the Grand Finale, The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity holds the national collection event with thousands of volunteers in Poland and around the globe. This year, the Grand Finale will be held on Sunday, January 13th.
It is truly amazing that this non-governmental, non-profit charity can influence so many people to help the ones that need the most help. Yes, this efficient organization puts the Polish government to shame. View the amounts collected since 1993 here.
Polish volunteers from New York and Chicago are also involved with the Grand Finale. Information about the Chicago base of operations can be found here.
Jurek Owsiak is also responsible for the greatest annual collection of rock music bands called Przystanek Woodstock (Woodstock Station), a weekend long feast of greatest music in Europe. Since 2004, the festival takes place in the western border town of Kostrzyn, not far from my old town. If you ever visit Poland during summer, you must check that out. Besides great music, the mud slides are the best attractions. Happy rocking!