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John Kelly's Washington

All in the Cause of the Party

By John Kelly
Wednesday, December 22, 2004; Page C15

I could smell the omelets from the lobby. Hot butter, sauteed onions, eggs crisping up in shallow pans.

It was party time at Hoffman, Wasson & Gitler.

_____Children's Campaign_____
Washington Post columnist John Kelly is raising money for the Children's National Medical Center, one of the nation's leading pediatric hospitals. You may make a tax-deductible contribution online anytime between Nov. 29th and Jan. 21st. Thank you for your support.
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When the elevator dinged on the fifth floor of the Crystal City high-rise office building, I followed my nose, got a name tag, then looked for Marty Hoffman, partner at the patent, trademark and copyright law firm.

Marty started his annual holiday office party 35 years ago, inviting employees, clients, friends and folks from the Patent Office with whom he worked regularly. When they'd get the invite, they'd ask what they could bring. A bottle of Scotch?

"What am I going to do with another bottle of Scotch?" Marty wondered. So instead, he said: "Bring me a check for Children's."

Which is how Hoffman, Wasson & Gitler and the people it does business with have raised tens of thousands of dollars for our annual Children's Hospital fundraising campaign.

At Marty's office, those who weren't balancing omelet-laden paper plates in their hands were standing in line with tickets redeemable for an omelet. It was a system started 19 years ago by Sandi Cumberland, who doesn't even work for the firm but is a good friend of someone who does. Sandi was invited to the party years ago. Back then, she said, it was "a mob scene."

She told Marty: "You need crowd control." He put her in charge of it. Now she takes the tickets that are handed out with the name tags.

"We all want to support something," Sandi said of the reason so many people come out to help Children's Hospital. "Or we all should."

Group Efforts

The party Marty threw at Hoffman, Wasson & Gitler raised in the neighborhood of $14,000. The gifts of other groups also are coming in. Many came in just after last year's campaign ended. Here's a list of those, as well as some of the first group donors from this year:

Office of the Federal Register staff, Washington ($116).

Division of Programs and Enforcement Police, Office of Cosmetics and Colors, FDA, Laurel ($20).

Piper Rudnick employees ($382.25).

Edelman: Washington D.C. Community Task Force of Global Public Relations ($1,000).

Employees of the Executive Support Office, Defense Intelligence Agency ($535).

Bedrock Landscaping LLC, Ellicott City ($200).

Parts Automotive Inc., Rockville ($1,250).

Carol Leigh Design, Vienna ($25).

Chantilly Turf Farms Inc., Chantilly ($100).

Rudolph Elementary School PTA, Washington ($203.67).

Swanson Middle School students, Arlington ($150).

Comedy and Humor Club, Silver Spring ($100).

Team Washington Inc. ($1,000).

St. Luke #2 Duckpin Bowling Team, Olney ($50).

McLean Duplicate Group, McLean ($100).

Peter Freeman & Associates, Alexandria ($25).

Communications Workers of America Local 2108, Landover ($816.50).

Causey Enterprises, Chevy Chase ($100).

Blessed Sacrament Eighth-Grade Class, Chevy Chase ($250).

Government Integration Services Division of Daou Systems Inc., Gaithersburg ($165) .

Africa Division, Central Intelligence Agency ($575).

Accounting & Management Services Inc., Potomac ($100).

Nannie H. Burroughs School Student Government, Washington ($70).

Tyler Elementary School, Washington ($50).

Publications Group at American Red Cross ($60).

Oak View Elementary School, Silver Spring ($201.03).

Woman's Club of Bethesda Inc. ($500).

Management Analysis Inc., Vienna ($711.35).

Tastee Diner Club of Bethesda ($69.10).

Brown Bag Bridge Club, Alexandria ($50).

Night Shift, 2K & 2L, East Building, Washington Hospital Center ($100).

Joint Committee on Taxation, Washington ($125).

St. Jude Leisure Club members, Alexandria ($25).

St. Jude's Leisure Club, Rockville ($110).

Alpha Sigma Tau, Northern Virginia Alumnae Chapter, Manassas ($100).

Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church Alliance, Bethesda ($50, in honor of my speaking there).

Chickread Book Club of Southern Maryland, Waldorf ($125).

Wednesday Women's Bridge Club, Vienna ($50).

Cissel-Saxon Unit No. 41, American Legion Auxiliary, Silver Spring ($50).

D.C. Hand Dance Club ($1,000).

Join the Club

Thank you to all of the groups that have donated so far. If your group has a check for Children's you've been waiting to mail off, let Craig Wilton, general manager of US Express, send one of his couriers. If you want a free pickup in the suburbs, call 301-883-9000. If you want a free pickup in the District, call 202-338-3900. Tell the operator that the account code is "Childpost."

Our goal by Jan. 21 is $600,000.

So far, we've raised $155,456.31.

Here's how to contribute:

Make a check or money order payable to "Children's Hospital" and mail it to Washington Post Campaign, P.O. Box 17390, Baltimore, Md. 21297-1390.

To contribute by credit card online, go to www.washingtonpost.com/childrenshospital and click on "Make a Donation." You'll be greeted by a pop-up that takes you right to the donation page. To contribute by Visa or MasterCard by phone, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200, then punch in KIDS and follow the instructions.

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