Photo: Vivi Kaparou
What do you think of the idea of obtaining a work of world literature classics against one euro and at the same time, helping thousands of poor citizens have a meal? Hundreds of Athenians responded to this particularly attractive initiative of Radio Vima FM and the largest press group in Greece.
The bazaar began on Friday and today, I went there not only with the idea of covering the charity event but also to add at least a few titles to my library. To my great regret, I found empty shelves. However, the organizers were smiling and the transparent cash-boxes at the entrance to the bazaar were full.
"This year, the radio station has launched a campaign for Christmas to help with the delivery of food in two foundations of people with serious financial problems. These are the foundations of the homeless in the municipalities of Athens and Kallithea. Initially, we asked our listeners to send food to both foundations. We saw that many of them responded and so, we decided to expand the initiative.
The Lambrakis press group, which is the largest in the country, decided to donate 20,000 books to both foundations and to organize a bazaar with the main idea that each listener could buy a book for just one euro. This euro is given as a donation to the two foundations in the cash-boxes at the entrance," said the head of the News Department of the radio George Kakousis to GRReporter.
"Over 100,000 books have been provided up to now and tomorrow is another day. It appears that the initiative is developing very well and the two foundations will receive substantial assistance, bearing in mind that every two euro, given by someone who takes two books, provide a lunch for a person in need."
The interest in the books is great, because they are "very expensive editions which at various times have been available to the readers of To Vima and Ta Nea newspapers with their expensive weekend editions. These books are sold in bookstores for six to ten euro. In this case, the publishing house gives them as a present offering them at the symbolic price of 1 euro. Thus, everyone can get a book and the money becomes food immediately."
George Kakousis said that the press group is determined to continue with the initiatives, which will have a positive impact on society. The intention to continue to help needy residents of Athens and Kallithea was confirmed by the Marketing Manager of the DOL press group, Vasiliki Albany.
"The books we offer are available to the readers through To Vima and Ta Nea newspapers or separately in booths. They include history and fiction, travel guides, photo albums, books with recipes and children's books. We have published over 1,500 titles over the past five years. We have a number of copies of them in our stores and we keep them as an archive. This year, Vima FM Radio has started to collaborate with the municipality of Athens to support the needy. Quite spontaneously, we decided to organize a small bazaar and to provide 20,000 of the books we have in stock for the symbolic price of one euro to raise money for the foundation," said Vasiliki.
These 20,000 books, however, were sold out the first day, so great was the response among the people. "We announced that the market will continue until 20 December and as we have realized that it is possible to raise a very large amount, we decided to continue to provide 20,000 books per day. As you can see, the entire organization was very good. The time now is 4.00 pm and almost nothing has been left. Quite a large amount was raised, which will be announced at the end of the whole initiative, but I can say that we have raised at least 100,000 euro so far."
The press group have donated the books to the foundations and organized the whole bazaar. "The only thing we required from them was to place two cash-boxes and dispose of the money raised."
"The initiative is full of great emotion. We had five exhausting days, but what happened was unprecedented. We had a queue of 1,500 people on Saturday and Sunday." Funny stories are not absent in such cases, of course.
"At times, it took two hours to stand in line. People were patient and waited, as we gave priority to pregnant women and people with disabilities. You cannot imagine how many "pregnant" women at the age of 70 and "limping" perfectly healthy young men appeared. Some women came and said, "The child you see has a temperature of 40 degrees and please, let him go into the bazaar in order not to infect the others," she says, laughing.
She described the success of the campaign with the fact that "Since Friday night, the driver of each taxi, in which I have got, has been asking me what is happening in the mall that there are so many people there. Many of the taxis went there on purpose to find customers because of the large number of visitors."