More than 100 contributions to the Children's Hospital fund drive were received here at The Washington Post over the weekend. Gracious!
That's the heaviest mail delivery I've encountered so far. It makes me hope the long dry spell is finally over and that I'll be kept busy reporting on new arrivals for the next month.
No child is ever turned away from Children's, whether or not the parents are able to pay for medical treatment. An effort is made by the hospital to obtain whatever funds may be recoverable, either through direct payment, insurance settlements or other "third party" sources. But the main concern at the hospital is to provide the best medical care possible, and to make it available to poor children as well as rich children.
Some of today's individual contributors found interesting reasons for remembering the children.
Along with a check for $30 came this message from the parents of a former patient:
"We decided we didn't really know what to get each other for Christmas, and thought this might be a good way to spend part of the money. We are grateful that we have the money to give, and would like to voice our thanks to the emergency room people who were so kind and gentle with our 3-year-old daughter.
"As you said, the recognition that a child needs personal attention means so much."
A tip of the hat to these parents who chose to give the gift of life instead of struggling to decide what they wanted for Christmas. They knew at firsthand about the valuable and selfless work of Children's Hospital. The security of knowing that their child can get expert medical attention at any hour is the gift Children's gives in return.
A reader who "won a small pool on the outcome of the Army-Navy game" decided to share her good fortune with the children. Another reader sent me a check for $10 and accompanied it with a note that said: "We made and sold doll clothes, and this is Children's Hospital's share."
A faithful reader sent a check for $5, and passed along some Bill Gold lore:
"Again, I'm sending my usual $5 for Children's Hospital this year. Some years ago Bill Gold dubbed this a 'widow's mite,' and he is so right. It is all I can afford, but I am loyal with this 'widow's mite.'"
Another check came from a District Liner who was "looking at prices of grave decorations, and I decided to send the money to help the living."
That's a choice I heartily applaud.
The organizations and small businesses of the Washington area are really starting to come through for Children's Hospital. Today's mail included gifts from eight different groups.
The Broyhill Crest Bridge Club sent in $10 to help battle the "built-in deficit" incurred annually at Children's Hospital. Another card-playing group, the Tuesday Night Bridge Club in Arlington, put pennies into a kitty for "each time we go down a trick." A few extra dollars collected last week brought the Club's total to $20.
The Women's Social Club of Deale, Md., "decided to eat a bit less to help the children." The members ate $25 less of whatever it is that keeps them going. Another contribution of $25 came from employees of Banner Auto Glass in Rockville.
The Excommunicators Bridge Group, made up of the wives of retired Air Force communications officers, dug $60 out of their pocketbooks. The Benefit Bridge Club of Falls Church collected a dollar more, contributing $61 from another "penny pot" that collects a penny for each missed trick.
My pleas for the early mailing of donations to the fund drive struck a responsive chord with the lettermen of The "E" Club at Alexandria's Episcopal High School. An annual contributor, The "E" Club was able to give $150 to the hospital.
IRS employees of the Examination Division of the Office of International Operations won top honors among the groups reporting today. For the past two years, their honor-system coffee bar (which also provides tea, cocoa, and chicken broth) has produced an annual income of $500 for Children's Hospital. Today's contribution brings their tally for six years of participation in the drive to $1,950.
Gifts from these eight groups came to $851. An additional $2,515 was contributed by 106 individuals. Together, these sums make our daily tally $3,366. That's one of our best days so far.
With the money already in the shoebox, our collected-to-date total stands at $9,709.11. So we finally seem to be gathering momentum. Perhaps after we pass the $10,000 mark we'll pick up even more speed.
To help guide your tax-deductible checks into the mailbox, I'll repeat my address. Please send your check, payable to the order of Children's Hospital, to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Thank you for caring.