The days grow longer, but the days left in our annual Children's Hospital fund-raising campaign grow shorter. There remain but two.

My faith in the hospital is a matter of record. At this time of year, my faith in the U.S. Postal Service is approximately as great. Since the minions of the mail aren't swamped by Christmas cards or first-of-the-month bills, they should be able to deliver your contribution to me by Saturday -- if you act today.

I know that 1982 was a tough year for a lot of you, and I know that the early part of 1983 hasn't been much better. The proof of the pudding is the decline in the number of donations I have received this year from individuals.

The total is down more than 25 percent compared with last year. In raw numbers, we have received about 1,200 fewer checks than we got during the 1981-82 campaign.

However, as you regular readers know, we're within range of last year's grand total just the same. That means that those people who have contributed since the campaign began on Nov. 29 have written bigger checks than ever.

What's missing this year are the small checks -- the threes, the fives, the tens. That's especially sad, because a lot of those came in past years from "regulars" -- readers who have been contributing to the campaign since it began in the 1940s.

A lot of you are elderly, I know, and are living on fixed retirement incomes. Inflation bites you especially hard. If you're unable to give to the kids this year, I understand. However, I hope you'll do so if at all possible. Any amount will help.

To you, and to everyone else who has not made a contribution, let me sing the song one more time.

Children's Hospital has been dispensing top-flight care in this community since 1870. It turns away no one, regardless of race, creed, ethnic background or the side of the tracks a family happens to inhabit.

Best of all, Children's helps mend the people who are the future of our city: our kids. And it does so without direct support from local or federal governments.

The money for the daily miracles at Children's has to come from us. It has before. Let's be sure it does again this year.