Calendars, calendars. Just about everyone needs 1980 calendars.

Last spring, members of the Merchants of Seven Locks Plaza sponsored a student art contest for area schoolchildren from the first to the twelfth grades. The results were so rewarding that a calender was created from the artwork of the 12 winners.

Their press release says, "The art contest and 1980 calendar are a community effort of 'Children helping other children.'" The calendars are available at the Children's Hospital gift shop and at stores in Seven Locks Plaza. They cost $4, and all proceeds go to the hospital.

What the press release forgot to mention is that those "proceeds" are being directed to Children's Hospital through "For the Love of Children." But the release does have a nice, familiar ring to its conclusion:

"Please but a calendar and help the children." The merchants started out with 5,000 of them. I hear they're going fast.

Today's group gifts begin with members of the National German Honor Society at West Springfield High Shcool. They sang Christmas carols in German one evening and collected $20.50 for the hospital.The workers at EPA's Mobile Source Enforcement Division sent $22. The money was saved by not exchanging Christmas cards.

An unusual letter containing a $25 check read, "The attached check was found in a pile of envelopes about to be thrown away. It was to have been donated to Children's Hospital as part of the 1979 contribution from the Common Carrier Bureau at the FCC."

The important thing is that the check arrived. It will have more weighty work to do at the hospital than lie around in the trash.

The "Cheerios" of Glenville Road in Silver Spring sent the hospital $35. They didn't say what kind of "informal group" they are, and I didn't ask.

"The U.S. Army Research Institute's 1979 Christmas Party fund has a balance of $77," read a letter from one of the Institute employees. Included in the envelope, sure enough, was a $77 check.

Taking us into three-digit territory was a check for $115 from the men and women of Paktron in Vienna. The check was marked "petty cash" but there's nothing petty about the help it will provide for needy children.

"Rinking in the New Year" was the theme of an ice-skating party where a group of kind souls gathered $135 for the hospital. "Everyone welcomed the chance to make a contribution," the writer said. Well, that's my kind of party. Get the hint?

As in years past, employees of the IRS's Technical Services Branch did not send each other Christmas cards, choosing to send their greetings to Children's Hospital. Those greetings equalled $175 this year. Also substituting a contribution to the hospital for an exchange of cards were the folks who work at the National Coal Association. They chipped in $177.

Getting back to the subject of calendars, the Seven Locks Merchants Association included a check for $300 along with their press release. I join them in hoping that this contribution is the first in a long series.

By adopting Bill Gold's no card exchange program, workers at Capitol City Glass collected $340. They have increased their contribution annually since joining four years ago.

"As usual, employees of the Office of Water Program Operations, Environmental Protection Agency, have forgone the sending of Christmas cards to friends they see every day and instead donated the money to Children's Hospital," read a letter from that wonderful group. They sent a check for $346.

Sending $507 were staffers at the National Center for Antibiotics Analysis and friends from other FDA units of Pharmaceutical Research and Testing. They have practiced "in lieu of" for seven years, always increasing ther contribution. Also hitting their seventh year are the folks at the State Department's Division of Language Services. They're just as good at writing as they are at translating. They wrote checks totaling $640.

Our blockbuster today came form old suporters of the hospital. Conducting their "traditional holiday fund raising efforts," employees at the Kiplinger Washington Editors Inc. raised a total of $3,527.51, including the matching gift of the management. "Happy New Year," wrote the sender at the bottom of her letter. It sure will be for a lot of fortunate young patients, present and future. Many thanks are extended to the fine people at Kiplinger.

These 15 organizations tallied up a respectable $6,442.01. Only 18 letters from anonymous District Liners arrived, adding $563.50 to the shoebox. The two combined to total $7,005.51.

We finished yesterday with $143,233 in the shoebox, so our total today must be $150,238.51. Hooray, hooray! We've passed the $150,000 milestone and now we're taking dead aim at $200,000.

Can we make it before our Jan. 31 deadline? Time will tell.