Our 1999-2000 fund-raising campaign on behalf of Children's Hospital ends today. Was that a whimper or a bang we just heard? We won't know until the close of business this afternoon, when the adding machines stop clacking.

I'll report semifinal results in tomorrow's column. I'll report absolutely final results in Monday's column. If past is prologue, we will have gotten a burst of donations in the final days. It may have been enough to push us past our ambitious goal.

But even if we fall short, I owe heaps of thanks to all 15,000 or so of you who have donated your hard-earned dough since late November.

It is never-endingly wonderful to sit here in my hilarious excuse for an office and watch the bucks roll in. How great to see that a guy can write a few newspaper columns and scores of people respond--people who have probably never been to Children's Hospital and will probably never go there. It's what the word "community" means.

Your dollars buy more than gauze and pills. They support a concept--that top-notch medical care should be provided to every child, regardless of race, creed, color or station in life. Children's Hospital has done that since 1870. Your dollars assure that the hospital will go right on doing it.

Let's hope the late returns are good. In the meantime, thanks again, one and all.

They snipped hair. They drank wine. They bid on glamorous items via a silent auction. When all was said and done, Salon-a-Thon 2000 put together the largest gift to this year's Children's Hospital campaign--and one of the largest ever.

Run for a second straight year at and by the Andre Chreky Salon, at 1604 K St. NW, Salon-a-Thon offered hairstyling and manicuring for a 24-hour period. All proceeds went to Children's.

Sixty-five staffers gave up a weekend--and a chance at a good night's sleep--to donate their services. Local businesses and performers did the same. The bottom line: an outstanding $50,163.01.

To Serena Chreky and Paula Cassidy, who spent 10 months planning and arranging the event, my heartiest thanks. More of the same to the Chreky cutting and cuticle crew, and to all those who weighed in with mega-dollars for the kids.

These group contributors nipped in under the wire:

N.B. Consultants, Burke ($500).

Roman Way Inc., Burtonsville ($122.11).

Herndon Reston & Tysons Corner Answering Service Inc. ($100).

Silver Spring Memorial Post 2562, VFW Ladies Auxiliary ($50).

Ladies Auxiliary, Knights of St. John, No. 310, Clinton ($100).

Washington Revels Responsible Adults ($90 with special thanks to Mary Ackerman).

Seventh-grade class, St. Ambrose School ($200 via a Millennial Ball and a stuffed animal raffle).

Employee members, Compliance Division Coffee Club, USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration ($210.98, bringing this group's 21-year total to $5,821.98).

Colesville Ping-Pongers, Silver Spring ($40).

West Gate Masonic Lodge 220, Mount Rainier ($1,000 left in the treasury after merger with another lodge).

Catholic Campus Ministry, George Mason University, Fairfax ($1,054.29 from the Matthew 25 Fund, in memory of Jimmy O'Neill).

Employees, Directorate for Policy Support, Defense Intelligence Agency ($1,230 via a "fun auction" at the annual holiday party).

The agents of McLean Long & Foster ($1,190).

Employees, American Council of Life Insurance, Northwest Washington ($3,566.40, marking this group's 29th consecutive contribution).

Staff members, Screenprinting & Graphic Imaging Association International, Fairfax ($570, with special thanks to "self-proclaimed coordinator" Carole Neeb).

Clay's Cat House, Clinton ($36.50 from the "Bad Meows" box).

Office of Program Support, U.S. Geological Survey ($116, with thanks to Jerry Tucker).

Office of the Secretary, National Business Center ($186, with thanks to Kaleen Gorman).

Shooter's Hill Ecumenical Carollers, Alexandria ($777.85 from the 34th consecutive carol-a-thon on Dec. 26, led by the indestructible Lois Kelso Hunt).

"Some of us" at Rogers Heights Elementary School, Bladensburg ($180).

Transit and Heavy Equipment Shops of Montgomery County ($200 from the annual coin jar, with special thanks to crew chief Gene Ammann).

Faculty and staff, Springbrook High School, Silver Spring ($1,115 in lieu of exchanging holiday cards).

The President's Men ($50 from this barbershop quartet).

Christian by Design ($87).

Graduate students, Department of German Studies, University of Maryland ($20 from an old-book sale).

Second Steward Society, Georgetown University ($25).

Stallings-Williams American Legion Post 206, Chesapeake Beach ($250).

Employees and customers, Fairway Lawn Care Inc., Silver Spring ($500).

Retired Sheet Metal Workers Club, Local 100 ($25).

Naval Sea Systems 05L Group ($80 from a holiday cake sale).

The Tonkers ($250 from this card-playing bunch).

JoAnn Andre's Aerobic Classes ($253 in lieu of exchanging gifts).

Systems Development Group and friends, Government Printing Office ($605, with special thanks to Christine Howlett).

HNS CAD Department ($100).

Wild Things 4-H Club, Mechanicsville ($100).

Preschool teachers, St. Aidan's Episcopal Day School, Alexandria ($175 in memory of Sarah Howard).

Office of Workforce Information, U.S. Office of Personnel Management ($140, with thanks for making a 19th consecutive donation).

Foliage Plant Displays Inc., Clarksburg ($500).

Sons of the American Legion, Post No. 226, Mayo ($300).

The Mended Heart Inc., Northwest Washington ($100).

W.F. Chesley Real Estate Inc., Crofton ($75).

Granddad's Hobby Shop, Springfield ($219.71).

American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 86, Henderson-Smith-Edmonds Inc. ($200).

Great job! Thanks very much.

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

In hand as of Jan. 19: $637,513.72.

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.