Nothing warms my heart on cold December Monday mornings like entering the post office on the ground floor of The Washington Post and seeing my mailbox jammed with holiday wishes and contributions for the free care fund at Children's Hospital.
The three friendly mailroom employes there -- Gene, Charles, and Floyd -- get to know me quite well during the ten weeks of our annual charity drive. I drop in so many times during the day that we hardly say hello to each other. I'm always impatient to see what the mail pipeline has brought in during the last few hours. Maybe a personal letter that will give me ideas for the next day's column or a generous contribution that will ease my constant worries over our eventual outcome will be waiting.
They probably think I'm some kind of nut, but one or the other never fails to ask me how it's going "with the children."
Deadlines dictate that supporters of the hospital who watch this space find out about such pleasant surprises on Wednesday mornings at the earliest. So I'm happy to report right now that the mail pipeline got some exercise over the weekend. Exactly 82 letters were received, one of our heaviest pipeline days so far.
A large handful of those letters came from area organizations and contributors. They, and all the never-named, but generous District Liners who participate each year deserve a big round of applause, and I hereby give it. Many thanks!
Leading off today's list of organizational participants are members of the Quackers Bowling Team, part of the A.O.A. Bowling League in Burke, Va. They sent $12 instead of exchanging gifts.
Two checks for $40 negotiated the mail pipeline over the weekend. One came from the folks at the Census Bureau Library in Suitland, the other from the Robin Dale Golf and Bridge Club. Good work.
Once again this year "the entire staff of Peace Corps' Office of Special Services" responded to the needs of Children's Hospital, sending $42. It's always nice to hear from the Peace Corps.
Also foregoing gift exchanges this year in order to help the children are the foot-stomping folks who belong to the Gay Notes Square Dance Club in Fairfax. They sent $47.
We move into triple-digit territory with a $100 contribution from Translation Consultants Ltd. A check for $125 arrived from the Potomac Hills Gardening Club. Each November, they hold an auction of hand-crafted items donated by each member, and forward the proceeds to the children. "A healthy child is a priceless blessing," wrote their president. That says it all.
The management staff of the Prince George's County Police Department came onboard this year after they decided that "instead of the traditional exchange of Christmas gifts, we would make a collective donation to Children's Hospital." That decision was worth $145 to the hospital. Welcome aboard.
"We, the members of The Sunshine Club of Military Benefit Association, are happy to enclose our contribution of $265 for Children's Hospital, and want to wish everyone there a Merry Christmas!" Consider your salutations transmitted.
The personnel of Airways Facilities Sector AFS-832 at Washington National Airport sent a very similar message containing $281. They've been doing it for years.
My constant worries about the fund drive were eased for the moment by a check for $1,822.15 from Moyer & Sons, Moving & Storage of Gaithersburg. Their letter credited $200 of that sum to the Kern Distributing Co. and noted that none of their personnel had ever had to visit Children's. That's a family company!
A quick and accurate count of today's mail reveals that 71 individuals sent $1,563 and 11 groups added another $2,919.15. Combining those figures gives us a daily total of $4,482.15. Inasmuch as the shoebox held $24,334.40 when we last looked, it stands to reason that it must now contain $28,816.55.
To become members of the exclusive Shoebox Club, please send your tax-deductible check, made payable to Children's Hospital, to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Any amount qualifies you for membership and entitles you to a heart-warming feeling that's so nice on chilly mornings.