Today, we stepped out of the theoretical and into the actual.

For six weeks, we have been trying to raise money in this column to Send a Kid to Camp. We haven't done half badly. The total is over $60,000, and growing.

That's enough for the buses to have left this morning, bearing about 275 kids to three Virginia camps operated by Family and Child Services, a local social services agency. At camp, the kids you have sponsored will spend two weeks backstroking and J-stroking, swatting softballs and catching ladybugs -- all those stirring activities you and I remember from our own camping days.

But three more batches of campers are scheduled to follow in July and August. And unless we raise an additional $40,000 by the end of the month, it's possible that those kids, who have looked forward all year to going to camp, will be disappointed.

So it's Generosity Time -- that moment when I ask you to dig deep into your hearts and checking accounts to help kids have a memorable experience that their families can't afford to give them.

A reminder: Donations are tax deductible, and they will be kept confidential. This is not an effort to land your name and address on an endless array of fund-raising lists. It is an effort to strengthen our community by giving the least fortunate among us a taste of the sort of life you can't find in public housing, in a broken home, on a street corner littered with busted beer bottles.

To contribute to the campaign, make a check or money order payable to Send a Kid to Camp and mail it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., 20071. Please do not mail cash.

I'll acknowledge each contribution. Meanwhile, let me say thanks in advance to all of you who are reaching right now for the checkbook and the pen. Please, procrastinators and fence-sitters: do the same.