The Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta (Magyar Máltai Szeretetszolgálat) was the beneficiary of the 2017 Christmas drive of Hungarian State TV, netting over a million US dollars for the Service’s social programs.
The Christmas drive, called “It’s Good to Be Good”, is organised every December by the national TV, with a different beneficiary organisation chosen every year: it consists of two weeks of spot broadcasts culminating in an all-day hosted show focused on fund-raising. The show, which ran for a total of about 6 hours, included over thirty films about various programmes of the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta and about its beneficiaries, and interviewed its leadership, four members of the Order, dozens of employees and volunteers, and several political, business and media personalities including the First Lady of Hungary, Anita Herczegh. It included a specific documentary about the Order and its history, both worldwide and in Hungary.
The drive raised funds through call-in cash donations, an automatic donation line, on-line sales of donated objects, and an on-line auction of memorabilia and art objects. The total revenue from these was raised by 50% by a matching pledge on the part of a Hungarian foundation.
The Charity Service has stated that it will use the funds to finance its work with underprivileged families, young people living with physical handicaps, early childhood development, and its ambulance service.
Founded in 1989, the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta has 3,000 regular and 10,000 occasional volunteers. Led by Father Imre Kozma, it is now the major welfare organisation in the country and a trusted partner of Hungarian institutions. It has 350 branches, 130 local volunteer groups, 220 institutes and 2,200 employees. It also works in the civil defence area with its own team to assist victims of natural disasters both in Hungary and abroad.