The annual International Christmas Charity Bazaar was held today in the Vilnius’ Town Hall. I braved throngs of holiday shoppers to check out booths featuring holidays gifts, food items and assorted alcoholic beverages from different countries. The bazaar is organized each year by the International Women’s Association of Vilnius (IWAV). Embassies from countries as far-flung China, Greece, Ireland and Kazakstan — as well as neighbors such as Latvia and the Scandinavian countries — host a booth and donate items for sale at the bazaar. The proceeds support charitable organizations in Lithuania through IWAV grants.
The doors opened at 11 am and my friends and I arrived shortly thereafter. It was already crowded at that point — and the halls were even more packed when we left 45 minutes later. The US booth featured brownie mix (not usually available in Lithuania), homemade chocolate chip cookies and assorted Christmas items. I have to admit that it was so overwhelming I didn’t even buy anything. It was difficult to even get up close to the booths to see what was on offer. But I was glad to see so many shoppers spending money in support of a good cause. And I know that I will have other opportunities to make a contribution to IWAV charitable projects.
The 2010 Christmas Bazaar recipients are:
- Kaunas Medical University Hospital
- Vilniaus m. Vaiku ir Jaunimo Pensionas (Orphanage for mentally and physically disabled children)
- Ekklesia Charity Foundation
- Vilnius University Children’s Hospital (oncology department)
- ”Kijeliu” Home for totally handicapped children (School and training center for severely disabled children)
- Nursing home for elderly ALANTOS
- Children and Youth Day Center “Mūsų nameliai”