Ever since you District Liners began your annual fund drives for Children's Hospital three decades ago, you have set a new high each year.

In good times and bad, the children had your support. As the need grew, your response grew.

But each year, I worry whether we'll make our goal by Jan. 31.It always seems that daily pages fly off the calendar by the dozen while receipts come in by the penny.

Oh, well - a penny here, a penny there. The girls in Brownie Troop 812 (Bethesda'a Ashburton School) chipped in their small coins to raise $22.41 for the hospital. The Guidance Department at Wheaton High School sent in $25. "Our class at Rolling Valley Elementary School (Springfield, Va.) decided to give up our gift exchange to divert another $25 to the hospital.

In the Systems Divison, Plans, Program and Systems Directorate of the Defense Logistics Agency, it was an exchange of in-house greeting cards that was dropped, and $28 was raised there. A kitty of $30 arrived from the Computer Sciences Laboratory of the Army Engineer Topographic Laboratories at Ft. Belvoir.

The teachers and staff at Forest Edge School in Reston also sent in $30. Girls Scout Troop 1841 of Reston sang carols for an hour and collected $30.35. Those pennies and dimes mount up after a while, don't they.

Several members of the faculty and staff in George Washington University's School of Engineering and Applied Science gave $37. The staff of the Templeton Elementary School of Riverdale rounded up $41.

No card exchange in the Comptroller's Office of the Army's Harry Diamond Laboratories netted $50. Another $50 was sent in by the class of 1943 of Armstrong High School.

The Keyette Club at George Mason Junior-Senior High School (Falls Church) charged 5 cents each to deliver Christmas cards and found that $56.70 worth of nickels and add up five times as fast as pennies.

North Forestville Elementary School (on Ritchie Road) raised $62. Two units of American Security Bank teamed up to send $67 for the children, with $29 coming from the George Washington Branch and $38 from the staff of the Accounting Department.

Children, teachers and Army personnel seem to dominate today's returns. The staff at Owens Road Elementary School (Oxon Hill) chipped in $82 for the hospital. The Aurora Facility at the Army's Harry Diamond Laboratories raised the ante of 90. No card exchange at the Army Mutual Aid Association brought in $98, and no gift exchange raised exactly the same amount from employees of Federal State Reports, Inc.

The staff of the Laurel (Md.) Elementary School swung us into three-digit territory with a contribution of $105. Student at the Annandale Beauty Academy voted not to have gift exchange among themselves; instead they pooled their gift money and sent me $110 for the children. Staffers at Garfield Elementary School (Springfield, Va.) who used to exchange gifts decided this year they'd send all the loot - $125 - to the hospital.

"The children at Mount Rainier Elementary School decided to create a wall of pennies around the school." They collected $12,885 pennies, which the Bureau of Mint will be glad to know have now been banked and put back into circulation.

No gift exchange among the children at the Rose Valley Elementary School (Oxon Hill) generated $150 to help needy children. No gift exchange at the Systems Development Division of the Army's Management Systems Support Agency and an assist from the agency's Bowling League brought in $260. The faculty, staff and students in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland rounded up $530.

That sum was topped - by 64 pennies - at the Kettering Elementary School in Upper Marlboro. Penny Day at Kettering brought in $530.64 worth of them, and I just pity the guy who had to carry them to the bank.

The two largest gifts of the day were real four-star specials. The Air Traffic Controllers at National Airport haven't exchange holiday cards among themselves since 1964. Their saving this year: a smashing $654. And Communications Workers of America Local 2108, also old old friends of the children, topped everybody for the day with $882.50.

If our cordless abacus is correct these 28 groups have contributed $4,398.45, and 62 anonymous individuals have added $1,437 to bring today's tally to $5,835.45. We began the day with $64,088:70 in the shoebox, so it now holds $69,924.15. We're on target.