Several themes are emphasized during our annual fund drive for Children's Hospital. Three of those themes are: The need to increase the amount collected each year to offset the effects of inflation; the holiday time of year as the natural time for giving; and the hospital's free care obligation that never diminishes.

So this letter brought great satisfaction to Bill and me. It read:

"Would appreciate you forwarding the enclosed check for $1,200 to Children's Hospital. Last year I sent a check for $1,000 to Bill Gold. Please tell Mr. Gold to holler if he needs more.

"I am a 74-year-old retired enlisted man living at the Soldiers' Home and feel that donations to Children's Hospital are always needed."

You, sir, are absolutely correct. Children's Hospital does need and appreciate every contribution it receives.

Funds collected by "For the Love of Children" provide free medical care to needy children regardless of their parents' ability to pay the bill. One of the original motivations behind the hospital's founding in 1870, this service remains the centerpiece of its operations today.

No child is ever turned away from Children's Hospital because of a parent's inability to meet the cost of treatment. Patients are treated according to their needs, not according to their financial standing.

The $1,200 contribution sent by our friend from the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home boosted today's tally from 225 "anonymous" individuals to our highest yet: $8,576.17. That sure will help bring smiles to lots of youthful faces.

But don't think we're satisfied, or even happy. No, not at all. It gives me a good feeling to know all these people are out there and can recognize a worthy cause when one comes up, but we're still light year away from where we'd like to be.

That's why District Liners from all points of the compass should be able to hear me hollerin'. And I won't stop until the last check is delivered and added to our final total. If we don't go over last year's mark, you might be able to still hear me hollerin' (and moaning) next July.

Fortunately, the mail pipeline also brought in a generous batch of checks from organizations and informal groups. Here's the list that gave to "the hospital with a heart."

The Chevy Chase Business and Professional Women's Club voted to continue its tradition and remembered the children with $66.55. the savings on intra-office exchange of cards netted $97.30 for the hospital from the kind folks at DOT's Financial Systems Division. A check for $136 represented the care and concern of D.C. Fire Department members of Engine Co. No. 20, Truck Co. No. 12, and Ambulance No. 8. The firemen concluded their letter with praise for the personnel at Children's Hospital Emergency Room.

A cuss box that has seen less and less use over the past eight years was replaced by direct appeals to the employees of Answering, Inc. The new method seems to have worked well, because they sent $165, their largest total in eight years.

The Avon representatives of District 655, which includes Northwest Washington, Chevy Chase, and Silver Spring, held their annual end-of-the-year meeting and auction to benefit Children's Hospital. The sales raised $170, a high mark for their third annual effort.

The empolyees of Pepco Control Center collected $171 for Children's Hospital in lieu of sending Christmas cards to each other. Donating $186.50 brought great pleasure to the staffs of the Photographic Services and photography Department of the National Geographic Society. It brought me great pleasure to receive their gift on behalf of the hospital.

Setting a fine precedent for future office efforts, the friendly people employed in the offices of Leva, Hawes, Symington, Martin, and Oppenheimer elected to test the "in lieu of" method and gathered $215 for the hospital. This is their first year of participation. An envelope containing 25 contributions totaling $234 was sent by the staff of the Aerospace Industries Association.

Hitting the four-digit territory again this year with a gift of $2,000 were the generous members of the Progress Club. Their letterhead says "69 Years of Progress." I personally hope that they have another 690 years of progress, with much of it reflected by gestures like this one.

Our 10 organizations combined to add $3,441.35 to today's total. Together with the $8,576.17 contributed by individuals, our score for today is $12,017.52. Inasmuch as the shoebox held $102,399.89 yesterday, it figures that this morning it must contain a new total of $114,417.41.

To give you every opportunity to start another week with a good deed, here's that address again. Please send your tax-deductible checks, made payable to Children's Hospital to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.