"A year ago my husband and I were very broke at Christmastime," began an anonymous letter from yesterday's mail. "Instead of exchanging gifts we sent a contribution to Children's Hospital. At the same time we were also being told we would probably never have children of our own.
"In September, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Andy was transferred to Children's Hospital when he was three days old. Happily, things turned out well and he was home with us five days later.
"Having a sick child in the hospital has to be one of the most traumatic experiences new parents can face. But, Children's not only provides fantastic physical care for the kids, they also provide great emotional support for the parents.
"So this year our contribution has much more meaning to us, and we hope to make it a yearly tradition. Since we are in the military, maybe someday we can set a new record for a donation for the furthest distance."
Our writer joined 74 other District Liners who contributed $2,567 this morning to the free care fund at Children's Hospital. That fund helps offset the expense to the hospital of providing free or low cost medical treatment to needy children.
Also sending vital help today were 14 area groups and organizations.
The children of "1st Rd. S." in arlington collected $8 while caroling. A $15 check from the West Springfield High School German Honor Society brought this message:
"Caring for and helping people is the most valuable contribution an organization can give a community. Throughout the year, Children's Hospital continues to serve the community with this gift."
Raffless held by the Campanelli unit of Home Interior & Gifts in La Plata brought in $25. Sending $45 were members of the Operating Services Divisions at U.S. Postal Service headquarters and the Research and Development Laboratories.
An energetic ssecretary at the Foreign Affairs Information Management Division and the Classification/Declassification Center collected $70.35 from her colleagues at the State Department. Personnel of the Instructionall Services Building of the Prince George's County Public Schools system sent the children Happy New Year wishes and $93.
Once again, employes of the Compliance Division, Federal Grain Inspection Service,, USDA, have shown a nice profit on their coffee service. They've been in the business two years, and made a $175 profit for the kids this time around. The folks at Automated Systems Co. Inc. sent Children's $200 "in lieu of holiday greeting cards for our customers."
Also sending $200, and a generous offer, were "all the gang at Northup Services Inc. We send it with our love for the kids, and with our hope that it will help to get your drive on the way to a record-breaking year. If the shoebox overflows, we'll send you an even larger one."
Seventeen checks totaling $240 arrived from the GSA's Office of Budget in the Office Plans, Programs & Financial Management. They've been contributors for five years.
The general counsel of the National Association of Broadcasters is the sparkplug who helped boost NAB's annual contribution to $255 this season. Even more old friends, employes of The Behnke Nurseries Co. in Beltsville, remembered the children again this year. They sent $419.
The Traffic Enforcement Branch of Our Town's Metropolitan Police Department came through in their usual generous way again. They collected $645 "in support of Children's Hospital and in appreciation of the many Bill Gold articlels supporting and aiding traffic safety."
"Once again the employes of The Kiplinger Washington Editors and Editors Press conducted their traditional Holiday fund raising efforts on behalf of Children's Hospital. These efforts are coordinated by our capable building engineers," wrote the people there. The Kiplinger Foundation also matched employe gifts, bringing their total to $3,699.91.
Today's total from those 14 groups is $6,090.26. Adding that to the anonymous total of $2,567 gives us a daily figure of $8,657.26. The shoebox held $112,448.33 yesterday, and today's contributions push us to $121,105.59.
Please help. 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.