Only 10 pipeline days remain in our annual fund-raiser to help Children's Hospital provide free and low-cost health care to needy children.
We still have to hear from two of our biggest traditional supporters, the U.S. Navy and C & P Telephone Co., before the panic buttons are pressed. But time is rapidly running short, and it's hard for me to retain calm, despite Bill's reassurances.
The mounting tension that Bill and I are beginning to feel was aptly summarized by a sensitive District Liner, in her letter containing a $20 check.
"Each year I send in a contribution to Children's Hospital through The Post in Dec., thinking that I have done the best I can. Then I sit back and watch and wait to see how things will go. I nervously look for the total in the shoebox each day.
"At about this point in the drive I begin to despair of your reaching your hoped-for total. I look over the old checkbook and the bills pending and begin to dig around and shuffle payments to see if I can do just a little better.
"This January I'm just going to have contribute on faith, because the money has run out. My medical bills in 1979 were so large. I think someone mixed them up with the national debt and 1980 seems to be about the same.
"So I'm just going to have to hope that I'll get them paid somehow because I couldn't let you and Bill down and have you miss your goal if I could help it.
"My regards to you both. I pray that your receipts on Jan. 31 will be higher than any of us can anticipate."
Or at least a bit more than your own medical bills for the coming year. Thanks for the support, the communication, and for reading daily.
Her check and gifts from two dozen other anonymous individuals totaled $645. A strong response from organizations and groups helped sweeten the pipeline tally.
Repeaters from last week got us started today. The cookie-eaters in the Composing Room at The Washington Post weren't quite full on just $130 worth of home-baked treates last week. So they ate another $20 worth and sent the children the proceeds. Also sending a check for $20 were employees of the Army DARCOM's Product Improvement Office.
The salespeople "on the floor" at Accredited Surgical Company contributed $26 in memory of a recently deceased and well-loved colleague.
"Enclosed is a belated Christmas gift to Children's Hospital," wrote members of the scretarial staff at Annandale High School. This year they opted to donate $35 to the hospital instead of receiving a gift from the administration. "Children's Hospital seemed appropriate for those of us in education," they added.
In a similar and equally appropriate manner, the Rosemount Center daycare staff chose to make a donation of $56.35 in lieu of their usual Christmas gift exchange.
Employees of Drug Fair No. 51 in Silver Spring chipped in $100 to help defray medical costs for needy children. An "informal group" of friends in Rockville got together and collected $100 to honor the memory of a neighbor's mother, who recently died in Oklahoma.
For the third consecutive year, the staffs of the Police Foundation and the Police Executive Research Forum combined efforts on behalf of Children's Hospital. This year they tallied $157.50 worth of help for the hospital.
Also participating for their third year were the good people at GSA's Transportation and Public Utilities Service. They came up with $257 by refraining from the exchange of holiday greeting cards and happily "exhibited the annual ellemosynary spirit which is common to all of us during the month of December."
The absense of a "beloved friend and employee who passed away last Wednesday (Jan. 16)" prompted a memorial gift of $315 to Children's Hospital from his colleagues at the stock brokerage of Folger, Nolan, Fleming, and Douglas.
"The National Society of Professional Resident Managers is pleased to enclose this check for $700 for Children's Hospital. It is customary for us to have at our annual Christmas party a tree for the hospital."
Those apartment managers must be able to find a magic tree each year. Last year they also raised $700.
These 11 groups contributed a combined total of $1,786.85.
And while we're combining, the shoebox will feel the weight of an additional $2,431.85, in bits and pieces, when we include the anonymous individuals score with the group tally. We were resting at $158,105.60 on Saturday, so with today's infusion, the shoebox now holds $160,536.45.
Here's that address. Please send your tax-deductible check, payable to Children's Hospital, to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.
P.S. Attention, U.S. Navy! We're starting to gear up for your column, so please, get to the mailbox.