I'm inclined to look on the bright side of things, so I'm going to concentrate on the fact that more than 3,000 readers of The Washington Post donated $500,587.50 to this year's Send a Kid to Camp campaign.
A few of these people had connections to Camp Moss Hollow, but the vast majority had no connection at all. They gave simply because they felt it was the right thing to do.
With their gifts they wrote such things as "Hope this check helps." And: "Wish I could do more." "Keep up the good work." "Good luck on reaching your goal."
We didn't reach our goal. It was $650,000 -- a high number, yes, but one that represented what Family and Child Services, the nonprofit that runs Moss Hollow, estimated it would cost to fund the summer camping program, as well as a smaller winter program for at-risk kids.
The charity will sit down and crunch the numbers before deciding whether the camp will need to close early this summer.
In the meantime, I want to thank all those readers who donated, including the donor who gave $100,000 and who wishes to remain anonymous.
I want to thank such readers as Nancy Wilkinson of Chevy Chase, who, when she sold her tickets to a Nationals game, had the buyer make the check out to "Send a Kid to Camp."
And H. Freeman Matthews, who wrote, "We couldn't go to Nantucket this summer, so why not send a kid to camp!"
And Rohan Yaradi, who in very neat handwriting wrote: "Dear Mr. Kelly, This is my birthday money. I am giving $25 so I can send children to camp. My birthday is on July 30. I am going to be seven years old! My parents are giving $25 more. I want a kid to go to camp. Thank you." (Happy birthday, Rohan.)
And Rachel Stewart of Arlington, who wrote: "It's been a long, long time since I was a camper. That's where I first saw a daddy longlegs spider . . . scared the dickens out of me." Rachel wrote that she had planned a holiday this summer that she couldn't take. "I think some of the money I'd have blown is better spent giving another child a summer camp experience, complete with daddy longlegs."
Thanks also to:
My assistant Julia Feldmeier, who wrote so movingly in this space about many of the campers and their families.
My colleague Gerri Marmer, who kept track of the contributions and the many ways they were made.
(Speaking of which, if you donated by credit card, you will soon see this on your statement: "John Kelly Campaign." Don't be alarmed. That means you gave to Send a Kid to Camp.)
Family and Child Services' Hope Asterilla, Lisa Taylor, Cynthia Spigner and the counselors and campers at Moss Hollow.
Every Wednesday this summer, the local McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants and M&S Grills served up one menu item to benefit the camp. In the process, they raised $7,883.25, nearly half of which came from the K Street and Reston McCormick & Schmick's locations.
Thanks to Salon Daniel, especially owner Daniel Bechara and organizer Telisha Allison. The stylists at the McLean shop donated their time for a cutathon that netted more than $1,500.
These groups also supported the campaign in its closing weeks:
Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide, $590; Club Les Femmes Gaies, $100; Wednesday Women's Bridge Club, Vienna, $50; McLean Duplicate Bridge Club, $100; GIFT (Giving in the Finest Tradition), Reston, $590; Clients of Clinton, Md.'s "Taxbabe," $2,407.50; Employees of the McCormick Group, Arlington, $1,180; Rainbow Kids' class at the Rabbi Joseph Weinberg Early Childhood Center, Potomac, $40; Chevy Chase Elementary School Student Government Association, $200; Ronna and Stanley Foster Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation, National Capital Region, $150; Wellington Swim Team, Manassas, $2,360; coins from the fountain at Grand Home Furnishings, Winchester, $25; proceeds from a brownie and lemonade stand run by 13-year-old Lindsey Doscotch and Grace Peterson, Sterling, $50; St. Margaret's Young Seniors Club, Seat Pleasant, $90; Washington Post Metro Copy Desk Bake Sale, $500.
It Ain't Over Till It's Over
I expect that donations will continue to come in over the next few weeks, and if you're slapping your forehead just now because you meant to contribute, please don't let our deadline stop you. I'll report a final-final total in mid-August.
Here's how you can make a tax-deductible contribution:
Make a check or money order payable to "Send a Kid to Camp" and mail it to Family and Child Services, P.O. Box 96237, Washington, D.C. 20090-6237.
To contribute online, go to www.washingtonpost.com/johnkelly. Click on the icon that says "Make a Donation."
To donate by MasterCard or Visa by phone, call 202-334-5100 and follow the instructions on our taped message.
Vacation's All I Ever Wanted
It's almost August. That means it's time for me to trade the burning sidewalks of Washington for the burning sands of the Carolinas. As scintillating as "John Kelly's Barrier Island" might be, it's no substitute for "John Kelly's Washington." And thus, I'll be off for a while. Barring shark attack, sunburn or overindulgence in intoxicating iced beverages, my column will resume Aug. 15.
But before I pack the minivan, join me for my online chat, today at 1 p.m. Go to www.washingtonpost.com/liveonline.