The youngest patients at the Children's Hospital are receiving medical attention even before they are born. The most mature inhabitants of the hospital are generally not older than 18.

This range of ages includes the years that most children and young adults attend school and, perhaps, begin college. In our area, many have heard of Children's Hospital. Some have even made "forced visits."

Our specialized pediatric facility is one of the nation's finest. The doctors and staff there are ready to provide medical treatment for any child in need, regarless of financial status.

The expense of providing health care to needy children and, in some cases, absorbing part or all of the cost causes the famous "built-in deficit" at Children's Hopsital. Over $4 million was spent on "free care" in 1978. About $1.7 million of that was covered by the proceeds from several annual fund drives.

Bill helped raise about $223,000. He says we have to do better this time.

A "group" that deserves special recognition is made up of Our Town's schoolchildren and young adults. They give generously each year to support Children's Hospital. Their annual response is always gratefully received by the hospital.

I could collect enough letters from schools and youth organizations to devote an entire column to their efforts. However, these contributions deserve acknowledgement before Christmas. I wholeheartedly applaud and appreciate these life-giving donations.

A letter from a student in Blacksburg, Va., arrived today with a check for $25. The letter said:

"I am a student who does not have children. I hope to have children someday. This contribution is to help with the cost of making the children well and getting them back home to their parents." Amen, and thank you very much, kind scholar.

"Among the groups contributing to today's collection are good samaritans at various educationl establishments.

Four organizations chose the sum of $25 to help sustain the "free care" fund needed by Children's Hospital.

One letter said simply, "This $25 contribution made possible by the E.W. Transportation Fund." Members of the Data Processing Division of Community Services Administration's Sunshine Club (what a mouthful!) diverted $25 from their treasury. Employees of the Purchasing Section, Code 232.1, of NASA at Goddard Space Flight Center raffled off a Christmas tree to provide their help. Members of The Epicurean Club of Washington, D.C., sent their best wishes and $25.

"Unit 4 (Wash., D.C.) of the Woodmen of the World collected $42 at our annual Christmas banquet," began another letter.The writer also included his personal thanks to the staff of Intensive Care Neonatology for medical treatment received by his infant son.

A check emblazoned with "Manassas Driver's Fund Association" brought the children $50. Next time, please tell me about your group.

The students who live on the third floor of the University of Maryland's Easton Hall altered their annual Christmas procedure in favor of Children's Hospital. Instead of buying "Secret Santa" gifts to exchange at their traditional dorm party, they decided to contribute $60 towards the "free care" fund.

The saleswomen of Avon Products, Inc., District No. 646, passed the hat at their Christmas dinner and gathered $65. Not bad for one night's work.

A letter from employees in Administrative Services at The World Bank read: "Herewith submitted in amount of $200 'for the love of Children.' This more than doubles the amount we collected last year. As an international organization we are proud to be of some help to all children. . . ."

The student government of Washington Irving Intermediate School recently sponsored a "Hat Day" for the second consecutive year. Each student donated a quarter "to design and wear his own hat for the day." They raised $232.55 for Children's Hospital and earned by blue ribbon for originality. Traditions such as this one should be encouraged. many, many thanks.

The total from these 10 groups is $749.55.Checks from 73 District Liners added $2,113.11, bringing today's total to $2,862.66. The close of business yesterday saw $30.029 safely tucked away in the old shoebox. The new total is $32,891.66.

For the past week I have concentrated on reporting the flow of funds at the expense of telling District Liners more about the hospital and its staff. The reason for this is that I wanted to catch up with bill's pace of last year before this Christmas.

Everyone has been telling me how tight money is this year. Stories in The Washington Post indicate a general reduction of charitable contributions. But Children's Hospital is right here. We can see it and the good work it does. That work is too important to be stifled by a lack of funds. Please find a way to send a gift to the children. Large or small, it helps.