One of today's contributions to Children's Hospital was accompanied by a letter that said, "We received a Christmas card from a relative in Pennsylvania. Although we live in Silver Spring, the card was addressed to Bainbridge.

"The only correct information on the card was our name and ZIP number, but that was enough for the Postal Service to deliver the card to us in two days."

I will have more to say about the Postal Serivce at the end of this column. Meanwhile let ua hasten to examine the bag of goodies that Santa left under our tree.

The small staff in the Office of Water Pollution Responsibility at the Federal Maritime Commission decided not to send each other $11.50 worth of holiday cards. "The Happy Warriors of All Saints, Sharon Chapel, Alexandria, saved $15 in postage by exchanging their cards at their annual Christmas luncheon."

Girl Scout Cadette Troop 63, Potomac, won a tree decorating contest by using homemade ornaments and sent me $20 of their prize money for the children at the hospital. Another $20 contribution arrived from an anonymous CIA office as a mark of regret following the death of the mother of an employee there.

The hospital's friends in General Electric's Information Services chipped $25. "The retired ladies of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board" get together for lunch once a month, and the December lunch always produces a check for the hospital. This year it was for $30.

The Belles and Bowies Square Dance Club of Bowie refrained from an intramural exchange of $40 worth of holiday cards. The same plan produced $42 in Pepco's Special Service Section, T&D Construction.

Last year, employees of the Health and Life Sciences Examining Office at the U.S. Civil Service Commission wished each other a Merry Christmas orally and thus raised $20. This year the wishes were warmer and the check was for $50. The Library Services staff of the Congressional Research Service (Library of Congress) diverted $56.55 to the hospital by not exchanging in-house cards.

The Office of Opinions and Review at the Federal Communications Commission rendered a $61 opinion in favor of the hospital with the built-in deficit. "Apathy and graduation" have taken their toll of the Graduate Assistants Federation of the University of Maryland, so the organization's entire treasury, $65.93, was turned over to me for forwarding to Children's Hospital.

The Communications Maintenance Branch of the Metropolitan Police Department got up a kitty of $68. A patron at the Golden Table Restaurant won a 12-poung cooked turkey and the hospital won $75 in cash as the result of a recent contest there.The 99th Army Security Agency Company (Control & Processing) at Fort Meade rounded up $93 worth of medical help for a needy child.

Three $100 gifts helped boost today's total. Employees of Dunhill of Springfield, Inc., didn't send each other $100 worth of Christmas cards. "The folks of the National Cartographic Information Center of the U.S. Geological Survey" used the same plan with the same result. And when the employees of Drug Fair store number 84 (Ravensworth) won $100 in a "Store of the Year" contest, they rerouted the money to me to be forwarded to the children.

The men and women on the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation taxed themselves $102 for the benefit of the hospital. No gift exchange among the officals and staff of the Arlington Country Employees Credit Union also produced precisely $102.

When the Women of the Church of Our Saviour in Hillandale, Md., sent me "part of the proceeds of our recent Holiday Bazaar," I felt sure they would win top honors for the day - because their check was for $1,200. Anything in four digits seemed a sure winner.

But then I was summoned to the main post office at North Capitol Street and Massachusetts Avenue to pick up a "package." What a package it turned out to be: a bundle of checks that added up to $2,628. After the presentation, a man came over to me, shook my hand, and said, "You don't have to tell me about that hospital, my friend. Children's Hospital saved my little girl's life." My eyes became a bit watery at that point.

My tally sheet says these 22 groups contributed $5,004.98, and 74 gifts from individuals came to $1.772, making today's total $6,776.98. Inasmuch as gifts of $36,738.92 had been reported earlier, the shoebox now contains $43,515.90. We are $10,689.42 behind last year's pace, and I don't feel very merry.