There's no doubt on Christmas morning about whether Children's Hospital is on Santa's route.
In fact, even several days ago, a casual stroll through some of the wings after the volunteer "decorators" were there might convince a young patient that there's a regional North Pole headquarters right there in the hospital.
The lobby was filled with ornaments and ribbons hanging from the 90-high-foot ceilings. The trees in the courtyard were completely hung with festive flourishes.
In the corners of hallways and posted at various doors were stuffed animals.
And, as usual at Children's, a cross face or an uncomplimentary manner were hard to find among either patients or staff.
Perhaps as a special "For the Love of Children" Christmas bonus, so many organizations have responded with contributions that we must credit them now. Here they are:
Agriculture's Accounts and Reports Branch of the Food and Nutrition service donated $9.35. The guides at the Visitor Information and Associates Reception Center gathered $15, as did the employees of the Internal Economics Division, again of Agriculture.
Money raised by refreshment sales and bingo brought $25 from the ladies of VFW Auxiliary 10081 (Southern Charles County). A check for $40 expressed the feelings of workers at the Transportation Association of America. The coffee fund at the Labor Force Statistics branch of Census sent $50, as did the Country Squares of Northern Virginia, square-dancers.
"The employees of The French Market, collected $71 for Children's Hospital," said the brief accompanying message. The B.P.O. Elks of Waldorf and a private charitable fund administered by B'nai B'rith each sent gifts of $100. The technicians at Airway Facilities No. 182 collected $116 for the hospital. Right after them at $120 were our friends at the American Institute for Research in the Behavioral Sciences. Union members of the local District Council 20, AFSCME (State, County & Municipal Employees), donated $200. cChecks for $210 arrived from the folks at Norman Bernstein Management, Inc., and $210 was also contributed by the brokers in the Dean Whitter Reynolds Arlington office.
A collection among the workers in the Customer Service Department at the G.P.O. gathered $243 for Children's Hospital.
Employees of the Veterans Administration's Office of Construction collected $452 in lieu of a card exchange. They have sent annual checks for a dozen years.
"Singing for Children's Hospital has become a joyous experience for many of our employees during the Christmas season," said a letter from the Defense Communications Agency. The happy carolers did $500 worth of singing.
Non-exchange of Christmas cards yielded a total of $573 from the employees of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
For the thirteenth year in a row, staffers of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences have relied on the "in lieu of" method, a tallied $620 this year. I also received a check for $621 sent by the kind people who work for the Washington office of W. J. Schafer Associates, Inc.
"A great deal of love goes with it," wrote an employee of The Heritage Foundation by way of telling me about their 1979 gift to the needy children served by the hospital. It was bundle of checks totaling $900. What an effort!
Today's top honors were won by members of the law offices of Martin P. Hoffman. Their checks totaled $1,609. A tip of the hat for their fine increase over last year's gift.
These 23 organizations combined to contribute $6,849.35 to Children's Hospital on Christmas day. That's a great, big, beautiful present from friends of Children's Hospital that will provide untold riches in return. The holiday spirit of Our Town was transformed into positive social action by these groups.
On Christmas Eve, the shoebox held $50,055.82. With the addition of today's group total, it now contains $56,905,17. Individual contributions for Christmas Day are being deferred until tomorrow. Most District Liners will probably be able to spend a little more time with "For the Love of Children" then.
We've been keeping up with the daily totals of last year's drive, but as I constantly remind you, "Because of inflation, just staying even isn't enough." cBill has been watching, the people who must pay the bills at Children's have been waiting, and I'm sitting here wondering. Does the coming of the New Year signal a new surge of generosity?
If you have the time on this busy holiday to send in that check for the needy children of the area, here's the address that adds you help to that already collected. Please send your tax-deductible check, payable to Children's Hospital, to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Oh, come all ye letters, with your message of hope.