We need $3.614.40 to reach the $100,000 milestone in our fund appeal for Children's Hospital today.

If we reach that mark, we'll be on target for matching last year's Jan. 31 total of just over $175,000.

So let's get right to work and see what's in today's mail. We begin with $10 from the Supply and Property Accounting Division of MERADCOM, at Ft. Belvoir, and follow with $15.75 earned by a group of girls who sang Christmas carols in their Stratford Landing (Alexandria) neighborhood.

The bridge players of Pinecrest Subdivision No. 2 (also Alexandria) went set 1, 750 times but "don't really mind too much" because at a penny a set they raised $17.50 for the children. I think doubled contracts ought to be worth 2 cents, and I'd be happy to put that in the form of a motion.

The Operating Services Division at U.S. Postal Service headquarters refrained from exchanging $25 worth of in-house holiday cards. Children who live on Chatham Road in Adelphi sang their carols fetchingly enough to be rewarded with $29.

Members of the Army's Civilian Personnel Directorate in the Forrestal Building chipped in $30. From the Materiel Section of the 310th Support Command (Theater Army Area), an Army reserve unit at Ft. Belvoir, came $40 earned by its coffee fund.

Employees of the U.S. Postal Service's Philatelic Sales Branch at 401 M children. Employees of the Tart Lumber Co. in Arlington raised a slightly larger kitty and contributed $50. The Columbia Pike Thrift Shop moved $50 from its treasury to the hospital's, and the Silver Spring Duplicate Bridge Club's annual championship for Children's Hospital earned another $50.

No intramural card exchange saved $55 among the Psychological Services Staff at the CIA, which as all district Liners know is actually the Child Improvement Agency. "The GSA Electric Shop at the NSA Building at Ft. Meade" refrained from swapping $66 worth of greeting cards. Employees of Colorfax Labs, a photo-finishing firm, chipped in $78 worth of medical help for a needy child.

Have we hit $100,000 yet? No? Then thank goodness we've reached three-digit territory, where totals climb faster. The International Medical News Group solved a delicate ethical problem when it received a gift it couldn't keep and couldn't send back without hurting the giver's feelings. The solution: a raffle that transformed the embarrassing gift into $100 for needy children.

Washington Aqueduct employees chipped in $62.53 and their Dalecarlia Civilian Activities Fund added $75 to bring their total to $137.53. The people who work for Arlington County's Department of Libraries are more attuned to library cards than greeting cards, so this year they diverted $145 to the hospital with the built-in deficit.

The arts, lively and otherwise, brought in $300. The first $150 came from three round-dance groups the Roundabouts, the Wizards of Oz and the Roundets. The second $150 came from the Gallery on the Park, which is on Sligo Creek Parkway in Takoma Park. The gallery held a showing of paintings, sculptures and pottery by 90 children from the Piney Branch Middle School. Its letter explained:

"The young artists voted unanimously to sell their art works for $5 each and contribute the money to the hospital where so many of them had been treated at one time or another." The next time somebody tries to tell you that this country's future looks bleak, just remember what kind of young people will be taking over in a few years.

The employees of J.R.'s Steak House (9401 Lee Hwy., Fairfax) gave up their Christmas party, bless their hearts to raise $195 for the children.

If you'd like to know where the money goes in the District of Columbia government, in the Office of Tax Administration of the Department of Finance and Revenue it does not go for an in-house exchange of $219.50 worth of greeting cards.

Curiously enough, the contribution that clanged the loudest on today's cash register was from employees of (are you sure you're ready for this?) the Hayman Cash Register Co. Their total: $326.

My cordless abacus says that these 22 groups have contributed $1,984.46, and that 52 anonymous individuals added $2,226 to bring today's total to a lovely $4,210.46. Inasmuch as we began the day with $96,385.60, we now have $100,596.06 in the shoebox and have basis for hoping that by Jan. 31 we will be able to match (or possibly even pass) last year's $175,235.70. We shall see.