"A few of us in the Department of Military Psychiatry, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, refrained from sending intra-office greeting cards," says a letter just in. "The result is $20 for CHOW. In Philadelphia, Children's Hospital is known as CHOP, so I guess that makes this one CHOW."

My friend, you can call us Ray, or you can call us Jay, or even CHOW, just so you keep the contributions flowing.

There are three $25 gifts on today's tally sheet. One came from the General Accounting Office Executive Wives, one from the Joseph F. Barr Ladies Auxiliary No. 58 of the Jewish War Veterans, and one from the Testing, Assessment and Evaluation Office of the National Institute of Education.

No intramural exchange of holiday cards in the Field Inspections Division of the Metropolitan Police Department diverted $30 to the hospital. Another $30 arrived from the folks at Duplicating Equipment Service Inc. The Social Fund at PIA sent CHOW $35, PIA being shorthand for Printing Industries of America Inc.

Staffers of Giant Food Store and Pharmacy in Rockshire (Rockville) sent me $45 and a note that explained, "We are a new store, and this is our first attempt at raising money. We'll do better next year." Employees of Chemco Products Co., also in Rockville, also reached a $45 total. Members of the Maryland City Civic Association (Laurel) wished each other a happy holiday season in their newsletter and diverted another $45 to the children.

A kitty of $53.50 arrived with the identifying tag, "From the employees, members and guests of The Tenth Hole, Fort McNair Golf Shop." When the Potomac Plaza Building Christmas party was over,$68 was left unspent, and you'll never guess how it was disposed of (but I don't have to guess because I have the check).

The Postal Rate Commission raised, among other things, $75 for Children's Hospital. The faculty and staff at The Browne Academy and The Brownie Preschool (Alexandria) signed a clever, expertly drawn, homemade Christmas card and sent me $81.67 that would otherwise have been spent on individual cards. The Computer Science Center at the University of Maryland also decided not to swap in-house cards and thereby produced $83.15 for the hospital with the built-in deficit -- which in military circles might be known as CHOW, the HOWBID. At home among the acronyms, ABC Supply Co., the beauty and barber supply people, raised $100 for the children.

From the "fishless fish pond" used as a wishing well by the Washington Aqueduct Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers came $109.37, of which $70 was in checks and $39.37 in coins: 1,207 pennies, 68 nickels, 79 dimes and 64 quarters. If you're wondering how much these 1,418 coins weighed, I can tell you. One ton.

It has been years since the last intramural card exchange in Administrative Services of the Veterans Administration Central Office. This year's result: $119.38. Another VA unit, the Data Processing Center, chipped in $130. Employees of the Military Benefit Association contributed $142.25.

Grumman Aerospace Corp. personnel at the Goddard Space Flight Center burdened the mails with no intraoffice cards and thereby diverted $183 to medical care for a needy child. The Customer Service Department of the Government Printing Office also took pity on the letter carriers and sent me $255 for the hospital instead.

Members of The Rebekah Assembly, I.O.O.F., raised an impressive $445 through contributions and special projects. And by happy coincidence, another $445 found its way into the kitty when it was decided -- for the seventh consecutive year -- that there would be no card exchange in the Planning Division, Civil Works, Office of the Army's Chief of Engineers.

Two groups that have long supported the hospital gave today's totals a tremendous boost. The no-cards plan among employees of the Charles E. Smith Companies resulted in a highrise stack of checks that added up to $1,164. And the Krick Plumbing & Heating folks in Hyattsville topped even that with a $1,500 contribution.

The bottom line is that 26 groups contributed $5,279.32 and 52 anonymous individuals added $1,743.08 to bring today's total to $7,022.40. We began this final reporting day of 1978 with $64,910.57, so the shoebox now holds $71,932.97. On the last reporting day of 1977 we had $79,429.03 in hand, so I must now admit we're in trouble.

If things don't get better in January, I'm going to join the Foreign Legion. But don't mind me. You have a happy (sob) New Year anyhow.