The box at my feet is groaning.

A few days ago, I pinned a target on my chest and invited you readers to mail me your leftover Giant and Safeway grocery receipts. I said I'd act as a receipt repository. In March, I plan to turn over every receipt I've collected to one or more needy schools. They can redeem all those strips of pink and white paper for free Apple computers.

When I named myself the great receipt collector, I had a hunch that very few of you would respond. After all, many of you donate receipts to schools that your own children attend. Others of you are giving receipts to schools in your neighborhoods, even if no child of yours goes there. Still others never save grocery receipts.

Yet my receipt collection has been booming, not busting. I have no idea how many dollars' worth are at my feet. If I started counting, it would take me the rest of my life to finish. But I'd guess that we're approaching $100,000. That puts us within range of one computer. By March, it would be nice to have passed four and be heading for five, six, maybe even 10.

So please keep mailing me your receipts, you loyal legions. The address is at the bottom of today's column. And while you're at it, why not slip a check for Children's Hospital into the envelope? Our annual fund-raising drive on behalf of Children's is sputtering. It would be nice to see dollars mount as fast as receipts.

Speaking of Children's, a few reminders . . . .

LIEU-IES: These are the Children's Hospital donors who contribute to the campaign in lieu of buying a holiday gift or sending a card. Lieu-ies have always been a mainstay of our campaign. In 1990-91, they are mainstaying once again.

Yet we can always use new members of this club. If you normally give gifts at this time of year or mail out cards, ask yourself a question: Wouldn't the money be better spent if it helps heal a sick child?

OFFICE DONATIONS: The water cooler is a powerful tool. It doesn't simply dispense H O. It causes crowds to gather. And in them thar bunches are big, big bucks.

If you work in an office, you have a captive audience that can be spurred into action for our Children's fund. Appoint yourself the chief whipcracker. Then go from desk to desk, with an upside-down hat in hand. Amazing how fast hundreds of dollars can sprout. Amazing too how quickly Levey will list any group donation that's sent to him, right here, in bold-face type.

REGULARS WHO "IMPROVE": Every year, our Children's campaign welcomes donations from old friends who have been with us year after year. To you regulars, a special tip of the cap. You know better than most how well Children's does what it does and how desperately it needs your support.

You also know better than most how useful a bump would be. If you normally give $25, won't you "improve" that gift to $30 or $35 this time around? If every regular did this, we would set a record to end all records. Please be an "improver" if you possibly can.

PENNIES AND FOREIGN MONEY: We accept both for the benefit of the Children's campaign. Mail or bring your collection to The Washington Post's main building, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. We'll do the rest.

MATCHING GIFTS: We're making a special push in this area this year. Please see if your employer offers a matching gift program. If so, obtain the appropriate form and mail it to me along with your check. Just like that, your gift will become two or three times larger.


Make a check or money order payable to Children's Hospital and mail it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071.

Many thanks to the following groups, which have contributed to our campaign in recent days:

Litigation Division, Office of General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency ($25).

Development and Special Events Offices, National Air and Space Museum ($120, which would normally have been spent on a staff gift exchange).

Retired United Pilots Association ($140).

John Addison Millard Auxiliary to Post No. 1800, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., Indian Head ($100).

Coffee mess, Systems and Support Cost Analysis Branch, Naval Air Systems Command ($100).

East Vienna Branch, First American Bank of Virginia ($25).

Soda fund, Center for Verification Research, Newington ($25).

The Three Fours Club ($100).

Members, Georgetown Kiwanis Club ($55).

Mary Culnan's MBA students at Georgetown University ($200).

Employees, Dick Clough's Income Tax Service, Rockville ($200).

Olney 10 Monday Night Mah Jongg Mavens ($100).

Air Force Excommunicators' Wives Bridge Club ($125).

Nellie West Friendship Circle ($100).

D and D Duplicating Inc., Rockville ($500 in lieu of gifts to the company's customers).

Posner-Wallace Foundation, Northwest Washington ($500).

Coffee fund, Racketeering Records Analysis Unit, Document Division, FBI Laboratory Division ($100).