As if it were August, the heavens have opened up and group donations to our Children's Hospital fund-raising campaign have started raining down upon us. A census of the raindrops:
* At its annual banquet, the Mid-Atlantic Sporting Goods Association ran a 50-50 drawing, with half the pot going to a lucky ticket holder and half going to Children's. The total take for each beneficiary was $150. Thanks, sports.
* Last names are being withheld to protect the guilty, but you know who you are, Pat, Betty, Wanda, John, Eve, Vic, Bonnie, Bob, Gina and Ed. It'll be sufficient for the rest of us to know three things about you. First, you all work for Computer Sciences Corporation in Falls Church. Second, you started a diet group whose rules were, "Lose a pound a week or pay a dollar." Third, you all flunked -- to the collective tune of $30. Sorry, but thanks, CSCers.
* The staff at the Hollin Hall Gift Shop contributed $20. Thank you, folks.
* A group of "lady retirees" from the Federal Home Loan Bank Board met in Takoma Park for lunch last week, as they do once a month. And as they always do in December, the ladies passed the hat for Children's. But when they looked inside after it had done the rounds, the fedora contained $60 -- twice its contents a year ago. That's the spirit!
The Policy Analysis Section of the National Science Foundation collected $70 for the hospital by the age-old method of giving money to kids instead of cards or gifts to each other. Well done, Policy-annas.
* In the same way, BNA Books & Conferences, a division of The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., collected $60 for the hospital. Many thanks.
* "I don't read your column," begins Harry Cross, in a burst of candor. "Don't have time to do more than scan the front page. But I happened to read your column today. Yes, Children's Hospital is the kind of institution I want in my community." With that, Harry sent $20 in the name of the Rock Creek Running Club, which he serves as president. Thanks to the huff-and-puff set.
* The official Army routing slip says across the top, "Never Use for Approvals, Disapprovals, Concurrences or Similar Actions." But it doesn't say anything about contributions, so 14 staffers at Headquarters DARCOM's Budget and Program Office in Alexandria clipped $20 to the slip and signed their names in the appropriate routing blanks. I'll never tell, gang. Appreciate it.
* "My fledgling business has not given the profits I had hoped," writes Bob Brett of Benchmark Photographs in Fairfax. "As a matter of fact, this check represents about 10 percent of my profits to date." But Bob sent $25 from the till just the same, in honor of "my three healthy children, who have given me more than the happiness and satisfaction for which I had hoped."
* Call it Twin Fifties. That's the only way to label the $100 donation from the Mothers of Twins Club of Eastern Prince William County. You have my thanks, Moms -- and my sympathy. As we're discovering Chez Levey, one is tough enough.
* For the fourth consecutive year, the troops at the Division of Cosmetics Technology of the Food and Drug Administration have sent along a gift. This year's totals $53. "We hope it helps," writes Raymond L. Decker Jr. It does, Ray -- a lot.
* Who says insurance people take but never give? The Gaithersburg District of Peoples Life Insurance put together a $48 contribution to Children's. Thanks to Nancy K. Dudiak and all the gang.
* Back when I was lugging books around a campus, we called it "soash sigh." These days, out in Largo, the correct monicker is the Social Science Division of Prince George's Community College. But by any name, the faculty and staff of the division have shown themselves to be as soash-ially conscious as always. They raised $217.14 for the hospital through their fourth annual poster contest. Well done!
* "We are a quilting group of ladies," writes Bonnie Oliver, "and as our kitty is growing, we'd like to share." How did it grow? As a result of a highly successful quilt sale held not long ago by the Needlechasers of Chevy Chase. The group sent $25 of the proceeds to the campaign. Many thanks, ladies.
* The headquarters staff at First American Savings and Loan Association of Woodbridge swore off an annual gift exchange and swore onto collecting for Children's. The result: $117. My response: much obliged.
* This one made me smile, on behalf of husbands everywhere. A check for $26.75 arrived the other day, with a note that read: "Please accept this small check for Children's Hospital from the Wheaton-Glenmont Police Crossing Guards, Montgomery County, Md., one desk clerk, one school coordinator -- and one very nice husband." Thanks to wives and husbands alike.
* Capital Area Chapter 10 of the Society of Wireless Pioneers donated $50, but how the group came by the money is a story in itself. John Elrod, a SOWP member, donated an old canceled American Marconi Company stock certificate for auction. High bidder was Col. Peter Hurd, at $25. The club kicked in a matching amount. A tip of the sender key to the Pioneers.
* For the 11th consecutive year, employes of the corporate office of Nuclear Fuel Services Inc. in Rockville have put together a sizable gift to the hospital. This year's is $315, which the company "improved" with $300 of its own. Thanks, nukes.
* Greenbelt American Legion Post 136 kicked in $100 from its children and youth fund, and Dorie Miller Chapter 14 of the Disabled American Veterans donated another $100. Thanks to both.
* As Willie Sutton so cleverly noted, banks are where the money is. But in the pockets of the staff at the Controller's Division of American Security Bank, there are 208 fewer dollars than were there yesterday. Thanks very much to this group, which made its 13th annual contribution to our campaign.
* And finally, my pals in the bridge world are proving as generous as in past years. The Grand Slammers of McLean gave $30 to the hospital. The Saturday Bridge Club of Arlington collected $70. And the Bridge Center of Northern Virginia collected $65 for the hospital at a charity game on Dec. 10. Special thanks to "Uncle" Tom Lyon of BCNV for passing along that club's check.
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.