Our annual fund-raising campaign on behalf of Children's Hospital got cooking in earnest yesterday. But it has been simmering since the last campaign ended in January.

Our coffers always remain open to donors. Each year, we hear from several dozen during the Children's "offseason." Here are the groups that contributed during 1999 but too late to have been named in print before now:

Members, Science & Technology Division, Institute for Defense Analyses, Alexandria ($452).

HCL James Martin Inc., Fairfax ($685).

Staff, American Geophysical Union, Northwest Washington ($170 from a holiday bake sale).

Fleet Management Division, Offices of Vehicle Acquisition and Leasing Services and Property Management, U.S. General Services Administration ($575, the 22nd year in a row that this group has contributed. Thanks as always to Larry Frisbee).

Members, Joe Wasson Chapter, Naval Enlisted Reserve Association ($100).

Office staff, Jermantown Elementary School, Fairfax ($100).

Members, friends and supporters, National Honor Society, Central High School, Capitol Heights ($54.89).

Employees, Office of Planning ($31.51).

Hospitality Group, Human Resources Division, Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture ($122).

Employees, BASICS ($195).

Board of Directors, Washington International Horse Show ($667, with special thanks to Sophie Nash Ours).

Jean Lillquist's journalism II/III class, Franklin High School, Reisterstown, Md. ($100).

HDR Inc., Alexandria ($72.20).

Employees, Herndon and Washington offices, Air Line Pilots Association, International ($1,045).

Governmental Affairs Staff, United Airlines, Northwest Washington ($60 in honor of David Christopher Rand Feld).

The Responsible Adults of The Washington Revels ($35).

Asset Strategies International Inc., Rockville ($100, with thanks to the man who happily turns foreign money domestic, Michael Checkan).

W.F. Chesley Real Estate Inc., Crofton ($121).

Temple Beth Ami Brotherhood, Rockville ($294).

Amity Club of Washington ($500).

Christian by Design, Herndon ($100, with special thanks to Marybeth Henry).

Employees, The CNA Corp., Alexandria ($604.24 via an annual talent show and a used book and CD sale).

Competitions Division, The National Rifle Association of America, Fairfax ($98 from this bunch, which has contributed to our annual drive since 1988).

Devillier Donegan Enterprises, Northwest Washington ($150 in honor of Ronald Devillier and Brian Donegan).

The Washington Post Bowling League ($4,000, half from the keglers, who work in various jobs in the circulation department, and half from the company. Special thanks to Dave Tomlin and Anthony Chung).

Employees, Affiliated Computer Services, Department of Labor ($66.60 in pennies).

Washington Daylight Lodge #14, Free and Accepted Masons ($1,000).

Bay Side No. 114 Star Hall Inc., Shady Side ($5,000).

Thanks so much, one and all.

Do we ever thank our children's teachers enough? No.

Do we ever thank them in the wrong ways? Often.

Is there a better way to say thanks, especially during the holidays? There sure is -- through a gift to Children's Hospital in the teacher's honor.

We've been beating the teacher-gift drum for several years now, and it has caught on in a big way. The reasoning goes like this:

If you try to buy a child's teacher the perfect gift, you will almost certainly fail. Either you'll settle for a vial of perfume that isn't to the teacher's taste, or you will spend too much on a sweater or a piece of jewelry.

In the first case, the teacher will think you don't care very much. In the second, the teacher may think you are trying to buy good grades or favorable treatment for your child via dollars.

How about a gift that helps sick kids and honors a teacher of kids, all in one motion?

If this idea grabs you, all you have to do is send us a donation, either by mail or via a credit card pledge. Please supply the full name and full address of the teacher you wish to honor. We will mail prompt acknowledgment of your gift.

Not only have parents and children taken this idea to heart, but I have heard from dozens of teachers who say they love it, too. So please jump in. Our mailbox and credit card voice mail queue stand ready.

There are still 4 1/2 weeks until the end of the year, and nearly five months until tax returns are due. Still, let's hop in right now to answer a tax question that comes up every year in connection with our Children's Hospital campaign.

You will often see me write in the weeks ahead: "Your gift is tax-deductible." Let me clear up that little piece of shorthand.

Your gift to Children's Hospital is deductible on state and federal returns as long as you itemize deductions. Otherwise, it is not deductible.

Please don't make a gift assuming that it is deductible and then fail to itemize. The Internal Revenue Service is well known for its rickety sense of humor.

Our goal by Jan. 21: $650,000.

In hand as of Nov. 26: $46,789.12.

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.

BY VISA OR MASTERCARD:

Call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 on a touch-tone phone. Then punch in K-I-D-S, or 5437, and follow instructions.