There's no room for a detailed report on the letters that have come into the shoebox along with checks for Children's Hospital. But I would like to give you two examples of the wide range they cover.
The first says: "Nineteen years ago, the doctors at Children's Hospital noticed someting the pediatrician had over-looking: my grandson was born with 'premature ossification of the skull.'
"The child would have died at an early age, or would have been a moron. But the Children's Hospital doctors who were treating a 6-month-old baby for pneumonia discovered the condition, the boy was operated on, and today he is a strpping young man, an athlete and a brilliant college student. So, dear Bill, God bless all those whose concern for children keeps this wonderful hospital alive."
The second letter was accompanied by a check for $100. It said: "Many years ago, somebody held up the cashier at Children's Hospital and walked out with $100 of the hospital's money.
"I figured that if somebody who was technically a human being could take $100 away from the children, somebody else who was also technically a human being ought to restore it.
"So I sent them a check for $100, and I've been sending them $100 checks ever since. My wife says it looks might suspicious to her - as if I were the holdup man, but I assure you I wasn't."
Maybe not, but you look guilty to me, friend. You'd better keep sending those $100 checks. We're making money on this holdup and can't afford to stop.
We can begin today's report on group gifts with the $10 that was sent in by 13 workers in a unit with a name you shouldn't try to pronounce until after you have taken a deep breath: the Strategic Plans & Policy Branch of the Military Studies & Analysis Division in the Command & Control Technical Center of the Defense Communications Agency.
The engineers at 2029 D St.NW collected $15 for the children. "A few of the people" in the Division of Mineral Resources in Interior's Bureau of Land Management chipped in $16. A check for $21 and the comment, "Wish it could be more," arrived from the Leisure Club seniors citizens in Indian Head. A coffee jar in the Kay Furniture store in Arlington was good for $25, and $25 was also the amount that English teachers in the Model Secondary School for the Deaf added to their previous gift. By coincidence, $25 was also the amount earned by nine girls who sang Christmas carols in the Stratford Landing area of Mount Vernon.
If you work at the pentagon, perhaps you noticed the manger scene built by the GSA carpenters in the shop area 1D334. Passersby who liked the scene dropped $26 worth of coins into the Children's Hospital jar displayed there.
The Office of Administration in the District Government's Department of Transportation tried the no-intramural-cards plan for the first time this year and rasied $31.45 with it. The National Weather Service's Test and Evaluation Division saved $35 by not sending holiday cards to office of Central Services used the same idea to divert $46.40 to the hospital.For staffers in the George Washington University Library, the no-cards plan was good for $49.
A $50 money order was pinned to a note that said, "We love the children, too. Title I Adjustment Section and Coffed Drinkers, HUD." Another $50 money order arrived with a note that said, "May God bless all those who help in this work. Los Unos Alegros Club (The Happy Ones)."
The University of Maryland's Physical Plant Department collected $53 for the children and wrote, "Next year we will start sooner and try harder." Employees of Giant Food Store 95 in Calverton, Md., turned thumbs down on a gift exchange and thumbs up on the idea of sending all the gift money - $75 - to Children's Hospital.
Do we have any three-digit entries? You bet. The Operations Support Computing Division of the Goddard Space Flight Center wins a three-digit asterisk for not sending out $104.50 worth of intra-office holiday cards. Telcom employees in Vienna used the same idea: everybody signed one giant Christmas card that was posted in the office, then chipped in what they saved on cards and postage to provide $107.11 worth of medical help for needy children.
And here are two more asterisks of significant size. Employees of the Air Force Audit Agency at Andrews AFB didn't send each other $136 worth of cards. And employees of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government saved $151.97 with the plan.
Employees and customers of the Roma Inn in Temple Hills chipped in $170. Employees of the National Automobile Dealers Association collected $185. Employees of the Publications Office in the Office of the Secretary of Commerce advised me that their $216 contribution is to be credited to "the coffee drinkers and the non-coffee drinkers." Hmmmmm!
The men and women in the Traffic Division of the Metropolitan Police Department - those terrible people who sometimes give you a ticket when you haven't really been doing anything wrong except maybe violating the law a little - sent me $236 for the hospital.
"Last year we were called the Airports Service of the FAA," says a letter wrapped around $248 worth of checks. "This year we are the Office of Airports Programs. By various names we have for 13 years been sending you money for Children's Hospital instead of exchanging Christmas cards with ourselves."
A wad of checks from asteriskers in the D.C. Government's Department of Finance and Revenue add up to a healthy $284.05 for sick children. Checks totaling $290 are at hand from the National Center for Antibiotic Analysis and "friends in other parts of Pharmaceutical Research and Testing, Bureau of Drugs, FDA," In only their fourth year of no-card participation, employees of the American Gas Association pumped $337 through the pipeline for the children. And the Office of Construction at the Veterans Administration his $393 in this its eighth year of not exchanging in-house cards.
Top honors for the day go to my friends in the Bureau of Traffic Engineering and Operations of the District's Department of Transportation. Instead of sending each other cards, they had one talented person in the office devise a community Christmas card that everybody signed, and $460.50 was thereby diverted to help needy children.
To summarize quicklyin the available space: 30 groups contributed $3,871.98, and 53 indivuals added $3,389.75, in large part because one young friend sent $1,000 and another reader contributed $500 in memory of a dear who died recently.Total for the day, $7,261.73. Yesterday's running tally was $87,670.45, so we move now to $94,932.18.