Discount bazaar will heat homes, feed hungryWith Korean businesses not yet fully recovered from economic hard times, it would be hard to blame them if they reduced their donations to charity this year. But you’ll see no evidence of such a move at the Seoul International Women’s Association’s sprawling charity bazaar tomorrow. In fact, one of the foreign community’s largest charity events has recorded a record number of large sponsors.
The annual bazaar will this year take place at the Grand Hilton Convention Center in central Seoul. The opening ceremony at 10 a.m. will be attended by the wives of the Seoul mayor and the minister of foreign affairs, as well as many women from the diplomatic corps.
Over 50 countries will participate in the event, more than ever before. Shopping will begin at 10:30 a.m. and continue until 3:30 p.m. Entry, which includes one lottery ticket, is 10,000 won.
The bazaar relies on donations from multinational and Korean corporations as well as local expatriate-run business to stock its shelves and stuff the coffers of its charities.
Items available at the event at a large discount will include cosmetics from LG Cosmetics and 100 million won in products from British department store chain Marks & Spencers. Handicrafts, wine, antiques, jewelry and clothing will be priced to move. An international food fair will also be set up for hungry shoppers.
Lottery prizes include pairs of tickets to Chicago, Dubai and Macau, a one-year supply of wine from Aqua Cellar, restaurant and resort vouchers and a five-megapixel digital camera, among others.
Cheryl Shuttle, the diplomatic chairperson at the women’s association, organized the event and has been happy with the response so far.
“We started out this year a bit worried about corporate donations because it started a bit slow, but then it was just unbelievable,” she said. “The great surprise this year was we had a lot of donations from Korean companies.”
The bazaar recorded a record number of “platinum sponsors,” those donating over 5 million won ($4,800), this year, Ms. Shuttle said. Among the cash supporters were GM Daewoo and DongSuh Foods, a longtime supporter of the bazaar.
A children’s home and a house for abandoned blind women are among the charities being supported. The groups will receive money for basic necessities like food and fuel for the winter.
by Ben Applegate
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