We begin today's report on funds contributed to Children's Hospital with $127,620.80. We began Jan. 18, 1978, with $128,418.08.

Three weeks ago we trailed last year's pace by more than $10,000. Now we are only $797.28 behind.

Let's stop nattering and start counting. "A Saturday Night Bridge Group of 4" sent me $10 worth of penny penalties for sets. The Wakefield Home Demonstration Club added another $10. The Children's Department at the Woodward and Lothrop Seven Corners store won $10 in an in-house poster contest. Need I tell you what personnel there did with their prize money? Of course not.

The Reference Search Section of the Copyright Office at the Library of Congress chipped in $13. A Sixth Grade Sunday School class at the Davidsonville (Md.) United Methodist Church sent me $15. The UNICEF Information Service, which shares our concern for the welfare of children, also sent $15. A third $15 contribution arrived from the cast of "Let's Hear It for the Queen," which was presented on the Silver Spring stage last month.

A note with an $18 check said, "Please add this to USAMSSA's previous contribution." I would if I could, my friend, but you're putting too much strain on an old man's memory. I'd bet as much as 10 cents it is an Army unit, but Army what?

A check for $20 was contributed by the Division of Chemistry and Physics at the Food and Drug Administration in memory of a colleague who died recently. Personnel at Home $ By Owner Inc. (Springfield) sent me $25. No intramural Christmas card exchange among the staff of the FDA's Division of Federal-State Relations brought in a check for $30 and the stern enjoinder, "Stay healthy." I get the same orders from the married woman I live with, who always sounds like a Parris Island DI as she snaps, "No! You've already had two eggs this week."

The Mid-East Regional Resource Center, which is funded by HEW's Bureau for the Education of the Handicapped, got up a $30 pool for the children. No card exchange among employees of the Branch of Photogrammetry of Interior's Topographic Division diverted $35 to the hospital.

OS/SRD/CAS of the (shhhhh!) Child Improvement Agency sent me $50 from its coffee fund, and if you think I'm going to try to decipher that one, you have another think coming. The Russians may know, but I don't want to. Somebody might subpoena my notes. Another $50 arrived from another coffee fund, this one at the Division of Technological Studies at the Bureau of Labor Statistics which - are you sure you're listening, Duke? - sells coffee at 10 cents a cup and makes a profit.

A check for $66 arrived "in memory of the young man who was killed by police at the Wheaton-Glenmont parking lot." No gift exchange among members of the Somerset Garden Club (Fairfax) brought in a check for $70 and the request, "Please don't join the Foreign Legion."

A check for $100 was accompanied by a letter from the Wheaton office of Colquitt-Carruthers that said, "In your Jan. 3 column, our executive offices challenged branch offices to meet their contribution. Well, we have." The Employees Club in the Alexandria Laboratories of Tledyne Geotech came up with $200 for the children without a word of explanation as to how they had collected so much. Potomac Chapter 1503. Independent Order of Foresters, dropped a $250 check on me in solemn silence. I'm not complaining; just curious.

During the intermission of the barbershop quartet concert at Constitution Hall, a young woman handed me a check for $267 and a note that said (after I found my eyeglasses) that it was MAD money - from the Music and Drama Group of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The money was earned by a 60-voice chorus that presented a Christmas show.

GSA's Office of Transportation would have won top honors for today with its contribution of $296.50 if the men and women of the George Hyman Construction Co. had not chosen this day to send in their checks - a thundering $2,850 worth that topped their own previous record and at last put this year's campaign ahead of last year's pace.

The 25 groups listed here sent the abacus whirring to a total of $4,445.50, and 62 individuals added $1,784 to bring today's total to $6,229.50. The shoebox now holds $133,850.30, which is $2,346.89 ahead of last year's pace. The big question now is: Can the Navy hold that lead, or will personnel cutbacks and inflated living costs take their toll? We'll soon know the answer.