It's finally happened! After weeks of "the faster I go, the behinder I get," I've finally caught up with the mail pipeline. But I'm not happy about it. Not in the least.

There's no individual total today because my mailbox is empty. Fortunately I still have a reasonable backlog of gifts from organizations and informal groups to report. Here they are:

Leading off are the members of a September to June bridge club that charged a penny penalty for each "trick down" and gathered $11.29 during their season. An additional amount to round off their gift to $20 was voted at the last showdown. I won't trump that idea.

A check for $25 arrived from "an unnamed branch of an unmentionable government facility." That has a "cloak-and-dagger" ring, doesn't it?

Also sending $25 were the members of the St. Vincent De Paul Society of St. Ambrose Parish in Cheverly. A check for $26 was forwarded by the staff of the FDA's Division of Federal-State Relations.

Employees of the downtown Pan Am office held a collection for a beloved colleague who was transferred, and he directed his loyal colleagues to send the resulting $65 to Children's Hospital.

Checks totaling $68.75 were received from "a thoughtful and dedicated group of Communications personnel at CIA, Langley." Happy to have you aboard again, Child Improvement Agency.

Eight contributors from the Fox Hills West Community in Potomac combined to send $70 to the hospital's free care fund. HELP (Help for Exceptional Little People), a child improvement agency of another kind -- no cloaks or daggers -- sent in $85 worth of help for Children's Hospital.

Members of the Employment and Classification Branch, Personnel Division, Bureau of the Census, sent $92 to maintain the free care function at the hospital.

Four groups chose gifts of $100. The first $100 check came from the tenpin fans of the Ladies Friendship Bowling League of Falls Church. The brokers at Paine, Webber in Silver Spring also added $100. (Thank you, Paine, Webber.) An equal amount was sent by the folks at the Office of Project Management, U.S. Army Material Development and Readiness Command. The final $100 came courtesy of the Women's Auxiliary to the Metropolitan Washington Association of Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Contractors, Inc.

A check for $117 from employes of the Network Analysis Corp. reflected a "major boost" from the winner of several office football pools who contributed his winnings to the Children's Hospital kitty.

Members of the SEE Group (no translation from our letter writer) at the Vitro Laboratories Division of Automation Industries sent a check for $120. Employees of the Interior Department's Division of General Law in the Office of the Solicitor contributed $129. Checks totaling $163 were the response from the guys and gals at the American Podiatry Association.

Nonexchange of Christmas cards among office mates yielded $167.69 from the good Samaritans at the Vienna branch of Providence Savings and Loan Association. A tip of the hat for your fine first-season effort.

Another NASA group from Goddard Space Flight Center, the employees of the Operations Support Computing Division, continued their custom of caring, and sent the hospital $180.

A check for $200 was the result of maintaining "our long-standing practice of forgoing a card exchange between the employees of The Howard Research and Development Corporation and employees of its subsidiary, Columbia Management, Inc." That's the kind of tradition I support.

Party-goers of the U.S. Army Computer Systems Command Annex held a cocktail party and collected $202 for the hospital. "Get 'em while they're weak," I always say. Adding $235 to the shoebox were the members of the Science and Technology Division of the Institute for Defense Analyses.

Another amazing coffee pot fund, this one administered by the friendly folks at Labor's Employment and Training Administration's Financial Management Division, raised a stagering $550. Who said coffee isn't good for little children?

Top spot on today's totem pole went to the employees of the Planning Division, Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.Their gift this year -- their ninth year of participation -- was $620. That sum represented an impressive increase over last year's total -- an "inflation factor" and then some.One certainly doesn't need additional proof that "The Corps Cares!" Many thanks for a job well done.

Today's two dozen groups contributed a total of $3,560.44. Inasmuch as there was already $127,017.59 in the shoebox, the abacus says it now holds $130,578.03. There's still three weeks of pipeline time left. Let's fill it again and keep it flowing until Jan. 31.