The mail pipeline hasn't had a workout like its been getting these past few days since the week after Christmas.
Yesterday 86 letters bearing gifts arrived at The Washington Post. Today we'll report on more than 100 letters.
That many letters should provide a columnist with some themes relating to the issues raised by the writers. As we enter the final week of this successful experiment, all available space will most likely be used to give credit to supporting organizations. I won't forget the individual efforts, though.
The following excerpts from three anonymous letters concern multiple or repeat contributions. Sometimes I remember the repeat names and then it seems I'm getting mail from friends.
"In December I sent you a check for $30 for Children's Hospital," wrote a generous District Liner. I just received a 3 percent pay increase. After taxes, etc., I came out $21.25 ahead -- which would buy me one really good meal a month. So I'm sending you half of my increase -- $10.63 -- and I'll go to the local inn with 'the gals' instead."
That's a fair compromise, I'd say.
An early $10 contributor in Arlington sent her second $10 check to the shoebox, using "money saved on the few snow days I didn't drive."
A check for $10 came with a note that read: "Here is another $10. It's not much, but maybe others will also respond at the 11th hour."
There are numerous repeat contributors out there in Our Town and everywhere The Post can be found. I'm thankful to all of them.
On another very popular topic, a reader writes: "I'm sending this $25 as my way of celebrating the escape of six Americans from Tehran. Please tell the Canadians that we will never forget what they have done."
Those were small pieces of some letters in a bundle of 94. They contained checks and a little cash totaling $2,131.53. Also lending support were the following organizations and groups.
The Ways and Means Committee at London Towne School voted a stipend of $15 to a student's father who portrayed Santa Claus, but he refused payment and directed the check to Children's.
Employees of the First American Title Insurance Company adopted the non-exchange of Christmas cards for the first time this year. They saved $15 for the free care fund and started to build a tradition in the office.
Two brothers and their sister, all students at Grace Brethren Christian School, raised $20.40 by splitting the profit with their school on the private sale of some articles left over from a school fund-raising project. "We decided the best place would be Children's Hospital," wrote the young philanthropists.
Card sharks playing under the name "Wednesday Duplicate Bridge" in Fort Belvoir sent $25 for use by needy children. Another $25 check arrived from a young woman who won a "baby pool" at her office. She said the pools were an office ceremony, but she neglected to say where she worked.
A check for $27 originated from the Office of Naval Research bowling league and their weekly raffle. A big winner there won five of the first 12 raffles. He volunteered to raffle off his winnings for the benefit of Children's Hospital. That raffle he didn't win.
Contents of a brief letter: "The Junior-Senior High Breakfast Class from the Clinton Presbyterian Church is sending this contribution of $30 For the Love of Children."
Another letter: "Enclosed is a check for $36 from the ladies of the Wed. morning Falls Church Rec. and Parks Dept. Housewives Bowling League. Instead of exchanging Christmas gifts, we voted to give the money to Children's Hospital." A check for $100 arrived with this cryptic message: "NOMAN fund (ask Bill!)." Well, I did, and he's as perplexed as anyone. The meaning is still undeciphered.
A young man of Lincoln, Va., celebrated his ninth birthday at a roller skating rink. He asked his friends and schoolmates to bring contributions to Children's Hospital in lieu of presents. The total collected was an impressive $100.20.
The trustworthy folks employed by Providence Savings and Loan Association sent a $167.69 check for the free-care fund. Another office saves on greeting cards to help to save lives.
Top honors today were awarded to the employees of American Management Systems Inc. A simple but beautiful poster was set up to publicize the hospital plea. It worked on 30 employees, who together wrote checks totaling $431.
Our 12 groups combined to contribute a total of $992.29. Add this to the $2,131.53 from the anonymous individuals and our daily total comes to $3,123.82. Yesterday, we left off with $205,239.91, so now the shoebox holds a total of $208,363.73.
Tomorrow we'll launch into the contributions produced by the hundreds and hundreds of Ma Bell's children.
They will carry us beyond the total raised last year.