"Bill Gold will remember me as 'the old lady who walks around with her eyes in the gutter,'" began a letter containing a check for $28.98. "The reason I walk that way is to find money to add to my annual Christmas contribution to Children's Hosptial.

"Here is my 1979 tally:

"$1.58 -- small change found including $.04 in Denmark and Norway;

"$10.00 -- a single bill, found in a Bethesda shopping center lot;

"$7.40 -- represents rides given to me to and from the town of Bethesda. I don't drive, so this amount equals bus fares I would have paid;

"$5.00 -- an additional memorial for two fine gentlemen who both died during December;

"$5.00 -- my usual contribution to Children's Hospital. Please find a check enclosed for the total -- $28.98."

Her check and checks from 23 other District Liners made today's total from individuals $636.94. A sprinkling of contributions to the shoebox also arrived from concerned organizations and informal groups.

Several were from various units of the Department of the Navy. Because the Navy is one of the hospital's biggest supporters and so many of its units participate, it takes an entire column to report on their gifts. I plan to publish that column soon, so if any Navy offices haven't reported in yet, I hope I'll hear from them right away.

Time is running out. Our annual campaign to raise funds for Children's Hospital is almost over. It's time to organize for the big push and exceed last year's record of $223,000.

Each year we conduct this drive to help offset the cost of providing free or low-cost medical care to needy children. For more than a century, Children's Hospital has been providing this service to needy children "without distinction of race, creed, or sex." This is a community service that simply must be continued.

Now, back to the gifts from groups.

Employees of the Retired Persons Pharmacy sent the hospital a check for $86 and a suggestion for the coming decade. "Please pass along this $86 and see what you can do to have the '80s declared the 'Decade of the Child,'" they wrote.

A gift of $225.12 arrived from government personnel employed by the IRS's Training Division. The check was their second annual contribution, and the folks there doubled the amount sent last year. That's staying ahead of inflation, all right. Let's see how many years you can keep it up.

And here's a letter from a group after my own heart.

"The management employees of the James D. Davis Construction Corp. are pleased to send checks totaling $270 to your Children's Hospital campaign. This year we made contributions an option, in lieu of exchanging gifts and cards. We plan to make this program a tradition in our firm."

All right, we'll be checking the pipeline for your gift next year.

Several members of the National Capital Club Managers Association elected to send a donation to Children's Hospital rather than exchange Christmas cards, as has been their custom for several years. They wrote a check for $385 and this note:

"We have included a check for $100 from our chapter funds. Our outgoing president requested that funds be send to Children's Hospital in lieu of giving him a gift as a token of our appreciation for his year of service."

These four organizations sent Children's Hospital contributions totaling $996.12. Together with our response of $636.94 from anonymous friends of needy children, today's receipts come to $1,633.06. Inasmuch as the shoebox held $154,645.73 yesterday, our new total is exactly $156,278.79.

How well are we doing? We are about $67,000 short of the amount we provided for the children last year. If we are to match last year's total, the mail pipeline will really have to perk up for the next dozen days.Otherwise Jan. 31 will find us with less than 1979's total rather than the bit of "inflation insurance" that we need. But Out Town has never let the children down, so I'm hoping for the best.

Perhaps another peek at my address will have some effect. 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.

In closing, here's a District Liner's response to my column about applying for a government grant to study contributor trends:

"I had orginally intended just to send a check, however, I felt I had to drop you a note. Please 'For the Love of Children' and us poor taxpayers, don't request a study as to why we give. People give to a cause because they have been inspired by someone or something; we don't need the government to tell us how you accomplished it this year. I would hate to see you get the Proxmire Golden Fleece Award."