"I have worked for a family physician for the last 10 years," an anonymous letter containing $10 began.
"Through those years, I have seen several of the miracles that the people at Children's Hospital have worked. It is truly amazing to see one of those beautiful babies grow and develop into a healthy, active child.
"In this day, it's very easy to complain, but it is also very easy to get a huge lump in the throat when you see the kids from Children's."
Kids can do that to you. They respond to love and attention as much, some doctors say, as to medical treatment itself. Along with all their technical knowledge and skill, that's what the people at the hospital try to provide. It's not difficult, because the miracles happen every day, and rewards come often. Employes at Children's feel special about themselves.
They feel special about Children's Hospital, too. It's the hospital where no child in need is ever turned away because the parents might not be able to pay their bills. It's the place where every patient can be sure of getting the best care money can buy, even if there's no money to buy it. It's the place where every year the citizens of Our Town reaffirm their commitment to the concept of free care for needy children by pouring thousands of dollars into it. It's a place that counts.
And this is the place where some of those citizens make their concern known. So many individuals respond that it would be impossible to name them, but established groups can be thanked, and they always are. Without further ado, here are today's accolades and acknowledgements.
The "cussbox," a time-honored, semi-painless method of collecting office funds, makes its first appearance this year courtesy of the employes of the Public Affairs Office at the U.S. Geological Survey. They sent $25, regretting that "our office people cleaned their language up this year."
The folks in the Information Management and Resources Division, Headquarters USAF, in the Pentagon, registered 100 percent participation when they decided to collect funds for Children's instead of exchange Christmas cards. The decision netted the hospital $30.
The members of the Mosby Woods Bridge Club in Fairfax "played better bridge" this year, but still went down to the tune of $56. That's a barrel of missed tricks at a penny a shot, but for the sake of the children, I hope they don't get even better next year.
Once again it's a pleasure to hear from the "E" Club of Episcopal High School in Alexandria. The lettermen at E.H.S. wrote:
"Even young people recognize the terrible effects of inflation, and in order to help the hospital 'keep up' they have increased their previous contribution by $50." That makes this year's gift $200. Many thanks!
For the sixth straight year, employes of Suburban Trust in Hyattsville have extended a helping hand to Children's Hospital, this time sending $822.50. This year's contributions include employes of the E.D.P. division, Visa and Selectline departments, comptroller division, mortgage loan department, "and other miscellaneous departments."
The last letter came from Suburban Dental Laboratories Inc. of Rockville with instructions to "accept this gift of $1,000 and if possible direct it to the Dental Clinic fund."
The dental clinic is just one of many specialized units at Children's Hospital. The clinic is always available to needy children, whose dental problems often are left untreated due to the inability of the parents to pay for regular care. So, your wish is my command. Thanks.
Today's response from 54 private, unnamed individuals brought exactly $1,412 to my attention. Add that to the $2,133.50 gathered by six area organizations and you get our daily total of $3,545.50. The shoebox, currently operating at less than 10 percent capacity, had $20,788.90 at last count, so we're looking at tomorrow with a to-date total of $24,334.40.
The tempo has to increase. So far I've held the direct appeals to a minimum, but the begging is about to begin. We've got to pull together against the "built-in deficit." Besides, more letters mean more work, and when it comes to the kids, I'm a confirmed workaholic.
Please send your tax-deductible check, made payable to Children's Hospital, to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.
Don't forget the children.