As this year's fund appeal for Children's Hospital draws to a close, it is time to call upon our heavy hitters in these annual campaigns - the United States Navy and the Bell System.
Late word from Mother Bell is that she is still gathering up contribution from outlying offices, but hopes to have the job finished before the end of the week. I'll try to get a report into this space by Friday.
Meantime we can see what the Navy has for us this year. Let's begin with one of the smallest units in the Navy's table of organization, the Navy Memorial Musuem at the Washington Navy Yard. It sent me $35 raised by the time-honoured procedure of not swapping holiday cards with people you see at the office everyday.
The Strategic Analysis Support Group also used the no-card idea and raised $45 with it. The headquarters staff of Naval District Washington cut back on its pre-Christmas get-together to divert $56 toward medical help for a needy child.
Two Bureau of Naval Personnel units teamed up to deliver $64.85 to my desk. A check for $17 was earmarked "Pers 3C, Arl Annex," and employees in the Officer Subsystem Branch sent me a check for $47.85 on the "Office Coffee Mess" account.
In Code 50 and Code 20 of the Naval Command Systems Support Activity at the Navy Yard, somebody suggested, "Let's passs the hat for Children's Hospital." It turned out to be a $120 idea.
From the Military Sealift Command, a unit I have never had the pleasure of visiting, came $302.26 and a truly touching letter that expressd the hope of Sealift personnel that Children's Hospital will achieve the community support it needs to continue its work for needy children.
Among the Navy shops I do visit each December is the Navla Material Command, which always manages to put aside "al little something" for the children. This year, NAVMAT headquarters gathered up $643 for me, and the Naval Material Command Support Activity teeamed up with the Navy Logistics Management School to fatten the envelope with $600 more, so I came away with $1,234 in NAVMAT money.
The Naval Electronic Systems Command got up a kitty of $1,330. Naval Supply Systems Command topped that with $1,400. The Office of Naval Research rang the bell with $2,210.70. The Naval Ship Engineering Center, which has been supporting the hospital since Year 1, racked up $2,900.
But as usual, the biggest Navy check of all came from my young friends in the Naval Sea Systems Command. NAV-SEA people and I have spent a lot of years growing gray together, but somehow they manage to retain the youthful spirit that first launched "Operation Christmas Card" a couple of decades ago and thereby helped to keep Children's Hospital afloat during some trying crises. Last year, NAVSEA somehow managed to raise $2,800 for the hospital with the built-in deficit. This year, the command came through with $3,465.05. A tip of the hat to NAVSEA and to all the Navy units that once again came to the hsopital's rescue.
As I tally it, the Navy's gifts this year amount to $18,171.86. Since we suspended our count on Monday with $98,950.89 in the shoebox, the abacus says we have now received $112,112.75 for the children.
Tomorrow we will check to see if there is anything else gurgling through the pipeline in these closing days of our fund drive. By Friday, perhaps Mother Bell's report will be ready.
If the collection taken up in your organization or informal group has not yet been sent in, or if your own personal check is still to be written, please remember that the iron curtain descends on Jan. 31. Once our drive is concluded at the end of this month, I will have nothing further to say about Children's Hospital until we begin worrying about the next deficit on Dec. 1, so I'll appreciate it if you'll turn in your checks and reports as expeditiously as possible.
If you're new to this area and are wondering what this is all about, here's the story in a nutshell: For 105 years, Children's Hospital has dedicated itself to two goals: the establishment of a top-notch pediatric facility, and making that facility available to every child who needs it, whether or not its parents can pay the bill. Naturaly, this makes Children's "the hospital with the built-in deficit." Somebody has to pay for the care given to needy children, and that's why your help is needed.
If you'd like to lend a hand, make your check (tax-deductible, of course) payable to Children's Hospital and mail it to me in care of The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Thank you.