At most area schools, the word has long since gotten out -- and the receipts have long since started coming in. Any school can obtain a free computer by collecting and turning in several thousand dollars worth of cash register receipts from Safeway and Giant grocery stores. So armies of students, parents and teachers are counting, stacking and stapling long, thin strips of paper. Soon, many Apples will be harvested.
But not at some schools in the District of Columbia. The students at these schools belong to relatively poor families that spend relatively little on groceries. Or these students live in neighborhoods long since deserted by Giant and Safeway. Or these school communities aren't organized enough or motivated enough to conduct a receipt hunt. Or all three.
So, in response to the suggestions of many readers, Levey hereby dons his catcher's mitt and becomes The Great Receipt Repository.
If you have Giant and Safeway receipts, and would like to help but don't know how, please mail the receipts to me. I will stockpile them. Then I'll spread the receipts among District schools that wouldn't otherwise be in line for a computer.
This program is designed specifically for Levey readers such as Ralph S. Wicke. He describes himself as a Washingtonian who "buys groceries every week but doesn't have any children at home to give the receipts to."
It's also aimed at readers such as Paula Henry and William Straube, of Greenbelt. Last year, when Safeway and Giant operated a similar program, Paula and William (who also are childless) collected their receipts and gave them to schools near their home. But since their home town has "a lot of community spirit," Paula and William figure the Greenbelt schools would have obtained computers without their help. Isn't there a more deserving school, they wonder?
If you fall into either of these camps, or if you'd just like to help city kids who may need it a little worse than others, please mail receipts to me at the address at the end of today's column.
A computer is not the educational answer for every child. But if a school misses a chance to get one for nothing, and a few dozen of its students fall further behind others their age, that's not the answer, either. Thanks in advance for your help.CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL
Two days ago, we kicked off our annual fund-raising campaign on behalf of sick kids. But David Boyle, of Burke, has provided the real kickoff.
At Lake Braddock High School, and later at Ferrum College, David was the place-kicker on the football team. Now that he's 24, however, his only connection with football is as a volunteer coach at a youth club.
A few Saturdays ago, David was showing his 11-year-old players what his trusty old right leg can still do. Bip! Bam! Biff! Field goals of 40 and 45 yards flew through the uprights. David says the kids were thoroughly impressed.
Then a brainstorm descended. What if David put together an event called "Kicking for Kids?" He would attempt 20 extra-point kicks. For every one he made, officemates and friends would contribute however much money they could afford.
When David shopped the idea around the Mine Safety and Health Administration in Arlington, where he works as a contracting officer, officemate Grace Dewan picked up the ball and ran with it. She filled sign-up sheet after sign-up sheet "and asked for more," David says. Grace "is the main reason we got any money at all."
Came the Saturday of reckoning, on the Lake Braddock field David knows so well. He lined up his first kick. Thump! Clang! It hit the right upright and bounced away.
This was costly to the Boyle ego, but even more costly to the Boyle pocketbook. David had been so sure that he'd go 20-for-20 that he promised to fork over $100 for every kick he missed. Just like that, he was 0-for-1. What if he missed three kicks? Or five? This could get expensive.
But David took a deep breath and rose to the occasion. His next 19 attempts were straight and true.
David isn't sure how much money he raised with "Kicking for Kids" because he's still collecting pledges. But he brought in the first installment the other day, and the total was luscious: $1,022.03.
To David Boyle, my thanks and those of the sick kids at Children's. The Redskins may never yank him out of retirement, but David has shown that with a little cleverness and a strong leg, a guy can cover himself with a different kind of glory.
TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE CAMPAIGN:
Make a check or money order payable to Children's Hospital and mail it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071.