The appeal of Children's Hospotal reaches citizens of every age. It's hard to resist being attracted to an institution that routinely offers the finest pediatric treatment available anywhere in the world to rich and poor alike.

Those who can afford it are expected to pay for this medical care. Those who can't are never turned away.

Children's Hospital was chartered 111 years ago for "the gratuitous treatment of indigent children without regard to race, color or creed." Simply put, the hospital rpovides free or low cost medical care to children whose parents can't afford to pay for it.

Of course, the hospital always attempts to collect whatever payment can be made, either through insurance or other "third party payers." But these funds cover barely a fraction of the annual costs of free care.

So, the hospital turns to us. Every year during the holiday season, citizens of Our Town are asked to help share the cost of free care for the needy children of the area. Each year, District Liners respond with enthusiasm and generosity.

Last year a total of over $231,000 was funneled to the free care fund through "For the Love of Children." That was just part of the area-wide effort, and this year we hope to do even better.

The mail pipeline brought in another load of good wishes for Children's Hospital as well as funds to support the life-giving work there. Letters arrived from 54 anonymous individuals containing checks worth $1,287. Also joining the battle against the "built-in deficit" this morning were 13 organizations.

A check for $20 came from the folks at Costume Studio. The officers and members of Beauticians's League 53 added $25 to the shoebox fund. Another check for $25 arrived from the staff of the Washington office of Ruder & Finn.

Four checks equalling $27 were "late arrivals" from the Suburban Trust Co. Last week I reported their main gift of $822.50, so make their new total $849.50.

The hat was passed during the Christmas luncheon of the Thursday Sunshiners Bowling League, netting $44.66 for the children. The Los Alegres Social Club here in town sent $75, and wrote:

"This contribution is our way of saying "Thank you, Children's Hospital, for caring for all children.' "

Two checks for $100 made it through the pipeline. One was from the staff of the Census Bureau's Center for Demographic Studies, and was collected in lieu of sending Christmas cards to coworkers within the office. The other came from a new group member of the shoebox club.

"Enclosed is the 1st annual check from some D.C. sanitation workers. Please be kind enough to give these 'unsung heroes' honorable mention in your column." Welcome aboard, gentlemen, and thank you.

"Again this year, instead of exchanging Christmas cards, the employes of the Voucher Examination Section and the Payroll Section of the U.S. Government Printing Office made a collection for Children's Hospital. Enclosed is $110," wrote some fine folks at GPO.

Members of the Mechanical Force at the U.S. Supreme Court contributed $112, and a check for $113 arrived from the staff of Andrews AFB Elementary School.

Another educational institution, the University of Maryland, was represented by a check for $125 from PALS, the Physics and Astronomy Ladies Society. They raised the money by holding a bake sale and a white elephant sale.

The staff at a second primary school, the North Forestville Elementary School, sent $127.50 and bestowed special recognition on their "very active Parent Volunteer Program," for making such a gift possible.

Our 13 organizations added $1,004.16 to the $1,287 already mentioned, making our dauly total $2,291.16. Inasmuch as the shoebox held $42,826.71 yesterday, it now contains $45,117.87.

District Liners, young and old, unite! 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.

There's no time like the present to help keep the city's finest pediatric facility available to all children, rich and poor.