An 82-year-old District Liner's letter contained a sentiment that I've become very accustomed to. Fortunately, she took some pains to smooth it out with a contribution for Children's Hospital.
"It hurts to give up Bill Gold," she wrote. "I became interested in him about twenty years ago when he advertised for homes for cats and kittens. I got my most precious one from him, but he died some time ago."
Our kind correspondent enclosed a check for $500 before mailing the letter.
Let, me once again reassure all District Liners. Bill's spirit and his journalistic expertise are still reflected in this column. He gets plenty of opportunities to polish my thoughts in this column when we go over it in the wee hours of the morning.
And, of course, if the total amount collected during the 1979-80 Children's Hospital annual fund drive is less than what was contributed through Bill last year, you better believe that at least two Washington Post writers are going to feel mighty disappointed (not even to mention the children.)
And just guess who will be around from February to November to chastise the readers who let us down?
Yesterday's column dealt primarily with individual contributions and some of the reasons they're made. Today, as intimated, there is an inviting stack of organizational envelopes awaiting the letter-opener.
In the starting gate for the group contributors this morning are the members of the Star Point Society, Hope Chapter No. 73, OES, Fairfax. They came up with $10.
The "Tuesday Nighters of Bridge" in Silver Spring decided "to forgo the exchanging of gifts and use the money in a more meaningful way." That way was to forward $24 to the hospital.
Employees of the regional office of the Veterans Administration forwarded the proceeds from the 1979 office "cuss-box," a total of $41.10.
Two organizations chose to send $50 contributions to help sustain the merciful work of Children's Hospital. The American Legion's Wheaton Post 268 was one $50 contributor. At the National School Boards Association, a decision not to exchange holiday cards also brought in a check for $50.
A bridge and dinner group from the Colesville Presbyterian Church voted to collect a little cash for the hospital instead of having the dinner. The members diverted $57 worth of eating to the Children's Hospital shoebox.
"The employees of the Transportation and Travel Management Division of the GSA's National Capital Region are proud to donate $60 to Children's Hospital in lieu of exchanging Christmas cards," wrote the director. The staff of Glencarlyn Elementary School in Arlington used the same method to raise $100 for the hospital. Another $100 was received from the Dorie Miller Chapter 14 of the Disabled American Veterans.
Employees of the Office of Opinions and Review, Federal Communications Commission, forwarded checks totaling $110. Another $117 came from the folks at the Defense Logistics Agency, who also canceled intramural exchange of greeting cards.
Members of the U.S. Supreme Court Mechanical Force boosted the shoebox by $125. Twice the amount, or $250, was sent to the children by the administrators of the Lillian and Stanley Posner Foundation.
Leading their nearest competitor for top organizational contributions for today by nearly a factor of three were 48 employees of Suburban Trust. Members of the E.D.P. Division, annual friends of the fund campaign, were joined by their colleagues in the Audit Department, the Comptroller Division and the Visa and Selectline Departments. Their combined efforts raised $722 for Children's. This is the fifth consecutive year of participation by the E.D.P. Division.
The 14 recognized groups for today contributed a total of $1,816.10. Another $1,423 was supplied by 46 District Liners, bringing our daily total to $3,239.10. Inasmuch as the shoebox held $26,789.90 yesterday, our new mark is $30,029 on the nose.
The $10,000 increments seem to be coming faster and faster. Even Bill thinks our momentum may be on the upswing. We're still a long way from last year's total, but perhaps I can detect just a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
Inserting my address may help cajole some reticent District Liners into reaching for their trusty checkbooks. Whether or not you are a parent or grandparent, contributing to Children's Hospital is an act of love. Please send your tax-deductible check, payable to Children's Hospital, to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW. Washington, D.C. 20071.
Bill had helped raise over $54,000 by Christmas 1977, and had about $43,500 on the same date in 1978. Our current trend should put us somewhere near that range in time for Santa's 1979 visit, but the idea is to get ahead and stay ahead.