Each year this time, District Liners turn their thoughts to those of their neigbors who need help. There is always a special place in their hearts for the mentality ill - many of them at St. Elizabeths Hospital, and others in foster care homes and other institutions in this area.

The D.C. Mental Health Association has for many years given at least one Christmas gift to each patient. Even a comb and brush, cosmeties or shaving gear can bring a fleeting moment of happiness to men and women lost in a world with which they cannot cope. Imagine how their eyes glow on Christmas morning as the Mental Health aides distribute bedroom slippers, robes, sleepwear, sweaters, books and games. Almost anything will do because every gift conveys the message that somebody out there cares.

If you'd like to participate, please buy a gift or gifts (they needn't be expensive), wrap them and label them as to whether they are best suited for a male, female or child. Where pertinent, label for size or age. Then take your gifts to one of these collection points:

D.C. Mental Health Assn., 2101 16th St. NW: All Saints Church, 3 Chevy Chase Circle; St. Elizabeths Hospital, Gate No. 1; Christ Church, 118 N. Washington St., Alexandria; Olsten Temporary Services, 1730 K St. NW; Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church, 201 4th St. SE; The Church of Our Savior, Brookland Parish, 1616 Irving St. NE; Church of the Atonement, 5073 E. Capitol St.; St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, 1655 Foxhall Rd. NW; National Presbyterian Church Administration Bldg., 4101 Nebraska Ave. NW. To find out during which hours each of these facilities will be open to receive gifts, please call Mental Health, 462-1122.

Inasmuch as tomorrow will be Dec. 1, the date on which this column begins its annual drive for Children's Hospital, I will not have the space to repeat today's information about collection centers. Please clip and save this item.

P.S.: I forgot to mention chess and checker sets, painting and drawing materials and stationery. These gifts are always received with delight at St. E's. Thank you for sharing with our shut-in-friends.