Today we enter the final month of our annual fund-raising campaign for Children's Hospital. We have 31 more days to make 1980 a Happy New Year for the hospital and its patients.

The idea that our campaign was over the same moment that the '70s faded into history is widespread. Seasoned District Liners know that Bill has always given it these two full months.

The rest of you are hereby notified that you still have one calendar month to make a move for the wallet and then for the mailbox. Correct your well-meaning forgetfulness.

Having dispelled that unfounded rumor, we are ready for the pipeline to resume gurgling with vigor as letters bearing help for needy children arrive from relieved procrastinators. Pass the word. We still have a month. aWe can triple our current total.

To get the checkbook into your hand, I'll repeat one of the hints Bill used to present at the start of each new year: To avoid misdating your personal checks, open your current book right now and fill in the dateline of each with "1980." By the time you have used those checks, you will be accustomed to writing "1980."

If you like that suggestion, you might also consider this one: After you have finished filling in all those 1980s, go back to the first check and write "Children's Hospital" on the "pay to the order of" line.

The remainder of the writing I must leave to your inventive and generous imagination.

I am delighted to be able to report that the pipeline was very active today, with 102 anonymous individuals contributing $3,760. Fourteen organizations and informal groups added $1,966.51 to make the total for this day $5,726.51.

The year 1979 ended with $80,348.43 in the shoebox, so "For the Love of Children" concludes 1980's first day with a total of $86,074.94.

All of today's group contributions came from federal agencies. Leading off with a $10 check were the employees of the Telecommunications Management and Planning Division at the Commerce Department.

Two offices sent $35. The first arrived from DOD's Product Engineering Service Office. The other $35 was a contribution from the folks at the Interior Department's Branch of Editorial Services.

A second letter from employees of the GAO's Office of the Comptroller General brought another contribution this year. This time those diehards sent $50. I always like to hear from people who can do it twice.

A check for $55.26 represented the money saved by the decision not to exchange Christmas cards in the Personnel Office of Industrial Relations, Bureau of Printing and Engraving. A check for $60 arrived from the employees of the U.S. Army Equipment Authorizations Review Activity.

A letter containing $63.25 read, "For the fourth consecutive year the staff of the Division of Compliance and Industry Programs, Bureau of Foods, FDA, has decided to contribute to Children's Hospital in lieu of exchanging Christmas cards." That's a great idea. Members of the Congressional Record Index Office raised $77 the same way.

Our first three-digit gift of the day came from the staff of the Office of Safety in the Federal Highway Administration, another "in lieu of" office. Employees of the Labor Department's Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training saved $144 by not exchanging intramural cards.

Several weeks ago, a secretary at the IRS's Engineering and Valuation Branch phoned me to ask how the money raised here would be used. I gave her my very best speech. And was I ever pleased when that office's response arrived yesterday! Its 78 employees chipped in $152 that was saved by not exchanging intramural holiday cards. Their letter said, in part:

"We understand that the money will be used for the children whose parents can not afford to pay the fees for necessary medical help for their children, and also for the children who haven't any parents and/or have been abandoned at the Hospital, and we also hope that our small contribution will give a ray of happiness to someone this season."

Sending $170 in memory of a co-worker, and "in lieu of" cards for the ninth consecutive year, were the members of the FDA's Division of Drug Chemistry.

Staffers of the Consumer Product Safety Commission held an auction at their Christmas party and collected $200 for the free care fund.

Taking honors in the heavyweight division with a gift of $800 were "more than 400 employees of the FDA Bureau of Radiological Health in Rockville." This addition to the Bureau's last 10 annual gifts brought their grand total for the '70s to $6,408.32. I'm glad to jump aboard and say "Thanks!"

Get the New Year started with a smile. Please send your check payable to Children's Hospital, to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW. Washington, D.C. 20071.