With Christmas just around the corner, our fund-raising campaign for Children's Hospital has suddenly come to life.

Our first contribution is something of a puzzlement: $15 from the "Advice Football League." No, I don't know what it is, but the check looks authentic and that's all that matters right now.

The helpful men and women in the Information Office at the U.S. Geological Survey chipped in $20. The ladies in the Calverton School cafeteria in Beltsville dished out $25 for the children. The Technical Evaluation Unit at the FBI raised $45.

Cissel-Saxon Post 41 of the American Legion routed $50 of its charitable contributions to our shoebox.Another $50 was raised at the Andrew V. Donally & Associates Christmas party. The Silver Spring office of the Paine Webber brokerage house took up at $66 mutual fund for the children. The Network Engineering Operation at Cumputer Sciences Corp. got up a kitty of $90.

No card exchange among the realtors at Carriage House Associates diverted $100 to the hospital. The Image Processing Branch staff at Goddard Space Flight Center also used the no-card-exchange plan to raise $100. And a third $100 arrived as a result of no gift exchange among police officials in Prince George's County.

No in-house card exchange at the Defense Logistics Agency produced $105.50 when employed in the Baltimore DCASMA, Industrial Security Division, Alexandria Branch, Virginia Branch and Washington Branch. The Program Analysis Division of the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration took up a collection of $112.

When the Tantallon Country Club's Ladies Tennis Association held its annual Christmas luncheon, Somebody suggested taking up a collection for Children's Hospital. The ladies immediately wrote out $120 worth of checks for the kids.

The American Petroleum Institute's Transportation Department rounded up $150. Employees of the Wheaton Office of Colquitt-Carruthers, Inc., decided to pass up their annual gift exchange to channel $180.50 to the hospital instead.

Students in "les classes de francais et mathematiques" at Thomas B. Pullen Junior High School in Landover pooled their loose change over a three-week period and raised $235. GSA's Office of Buildings Management was good enough at mathematics to add up $265 worth of help for the children. My special friends, The Washington Post dealers and circulation people who work in our loading area all night in all kinds of foul weather, dug into their pockets for $310. Somebody once said of the men who work on circulation trucks that "underneath those gruff exteriors there are some real gruff interiors," but don't you believe it. Most of them are soft touches when a child needs help.

Some of today's group gifts were much larger than in previous years. Take the contribution from the people at R.M. Vredenburg & Co., for example. Vredenburg is a small consultatant firm in McLean. Last year, employees there experimented with the idea of not exchanging holiday cards with people they see at the office everyday. The plan was so favorably received that this year its proceeds grew to $506. At the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, employees signed one large poster-type greeting card and diverted $580.50 to the children.

At Autotax, Inc., in Falls Church, the no-cards idea produced $157 last year. This year, Autotax people zoomed to $611. Amazing!

At the American Council of Life Insurance, the fundraisers call themselves the "Santa Claus et al" group. When Santa asked for help this year, $755 came rolling in from people who didn't swap holiday cards.

Easily the biggest contribution of the day was the $3,000 that arrived from the Melpar Division of E-Systems, Inc., of Falls Church. One big "community" Christmas card was signed by employees who didn't burden the mails with individual cards to each other.

Our cordless abacus indicates that these 24 groups piled up $7,591.50 worth of help for the hospital today, and that 83 (always anonymous) individuals added %2,350.24 more to bring today's receipts to $9,941.74. Inasmuch as there was $44,263.58 in our shoebox when we suspended our count yesterday, the shoebox now holds $54,205.32. If you'd like to help, my mailing address is c/o The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071.Thank You.