We've just about completed the second week of fund-raising for Children's Hospital.
The mail pipeline is currently functioning at about half of capacity, or roughly 80 letters a day. Bill says that's as good as I can expect at this early date. But were both wondering when the tempo will pick up.
So far, we're almost matching last year's dollar totals, but not 1977's. Between Feb. 1 and Dec. 1, 1977, the shoebox accumulated an "off-season" total of $10,3599.628 giving Bill a good head start on the campaign that began on Dec. 1 of that year. By Dec. 13, 1977, the total had risen to $21,101.49.
In 1978, however, there were no large off-season contributions, and therefore no flying start for the campaign. By Dec. 13 of 1978, the total in the shoebox was only $12,436.55.
On Dec. 13 of this year, we had $11.933.11 in the shoebox.
That's not good, it's not bad. There is still reason to hope that we'll swing into high gear as Christmas approaches. But on the other hand, just matching lat year's totals won't be good encough. Everybody's enemy, inflation, has driven up the cost of medical care, too. To meet our obligation to provide medical care for poor children, we will have to send the hospital about 12 percent more than we did last year.
Once again, the post office's daily toil has brought to my attention new schemes for raising money for the children. This morning's mail included two letters from government retirees. Forsaking holiday greeting cards, a 32-year veteran of the Defense Department sent $20 to Children's instead. Another former government worker telephoned her "hellos" in to the old office, and sent me a check for $15. Let's hear from more members of the federal leisure class.
Another reader challenged some friends to golf match, then charged spectators a dollar each to watch. Unfortunately, the day was bitter cold, and only 15 hardy souls made the rounds. But the provided a useful $15, and we herewith provide three cheers to those warm-blooded golf fans.
An interesting letter arrived from a street without a city.
Neither Arlington nor Alexandria claims Paxton Street, nor will either provide certain city services. So the residents have formed a renagade county of their own. They wrote:
"The citizens of Paxton County hereby contribute $65 to Children's Hospital. This represents one dollar for each man, woman, and child in Paxton County."
It's nice to know that a sense of civic pride exists even when city hall seems indifferent.
Our one-day-old record for the highest individual gift to Children's Hospital has already been broken. An envelope that arrived today contained a check for $500, but no covering not. My sincere thanks to our taciturn friend.
Contributions from groups are coming in with more frequency as Christmas draws nigh. The folks at Survey Design, in Silver Spring, chipped in $10. Card players were, as usual, well represented. Members of the Burning Tree Bridge Club contributed their December winnings of $12, and suggested that others follow suit. A nameless club, in Clinton, anted up $23.
Three groups pitched in $25 each to assist the work at Children's. Beta Chapter of Delta Alpha Sorority sent in its seventh annual check. The employees at Whitfield's Heavy Hauling also responded. A "cuss box" at the Information Office of the U.S. Geological Survey was the source of that group's $25 gift.
A collection was taken at the Christmas luncheaon of the Robin Dale Country Club Ladies Group. It brought in $27. The Robin Dale ladies were joined in spirit by the Retired Ladies of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, who added $31 to the shoebox.
The Bayonne Cyclone Athletic Club slow-pitch softball team won first place in its league and the $90 trophy award that goes with that achievement. The champs decided to send the children half the money and spend the other $45 on a victory party.
Employees of People Drug Store No. 231 sent me $47 in memory of a colleague's child who died recently. The Episcopal Churchwomen of St. John's in Mount Rainier and the Brookland Friendly Senior Neighbors each added $50 to today's total.
A candy jar fund operated by the Army's Civilian Personnel Directorate yeilded $66. How sweet it is! What this country needs is more candy jar funds.
Today's individual contributions from 63 friends of Children's Hospital totalled $2,017. The 13 groups listed above added $436. Together, they gave us a total of $2,453 for the day. Having begun the day with $11,933.11 in the shoebox, our tally to date rises to a modest $14,386.11.
Please don't delay any longer. Send your check, payable to Children's Hospital, to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Thank you.