Yesterday 25 letters gurgled out of the mail pipeline into my mailbox.

Very clearly, the crest of year-end flood of mail for Children's Hospital has passed. In these closing days of our fund appeal for the children we're going to need all the help we can get, so let me put it to you this way:

Are you a procrastinator? Have you been meaning to send me a check but just haven't gotten around to writing it and mailing it? You can level with me. I'm a procrastinator, too. I understand. And I want to help you overcome this terrible habit. Let me show you how. First, get out your checkbook. Then get out your pen. On the line that says "pay to the order of," fill in, "Children's Hospital." For the next line, you don't need my guidance. Just listen to your heart. But do it today. Please.

Today's incoming mail was almost evenly split between contributions from individuals and contributions from informal groups and organizations. There were a dozen from individuals and 13 from groups.

The 12 individuals (never identified here) chipped in $490. A single check for $250 from one individual really boosted the total. Thank you.

One individual's letter said:

"As a retired school nurse, I know how important the services available at Children's Hospital are to the school health programs."

What could be more important than providing Our Town and its school system with the highest level of pediatric medical care obtainable anywhere?

And what could be more humanitarian than making these services available to all children, regardless of their parents' ability to pay for treatment?

As we now turn our attention to today's contributions from groups, permit me to note (at the risk of provoking a loud groan from readers who don't like puns) that joggers and sprinters on the George Mason University track team got us off to a running start with their gift of $10.

"Here's a sum of $25, the first contribution ever from our group," began the next letter. "We hope to do better next year, but this should help dent the deficit a bit." The letter came from employees of the Office of Personnel Management's Personnel Investigations Division (VAFO).

Another group of first-timers, employees of the Southeast Division of Metro, chipped in $26. They hope that their coworkers in other Metro branches would follow suit.

A group of five-year veterans came next. Staffers of the Credit and Collection Departments at Hechinger's sent $30, raised in lieu of an office exchange of Christmas cards.

A check for $35 arrived from the employees in the Prince George's Community College maintenance building.

Members of another department at Hechinger's sent a check for $35.31 to ease the "built-in deficit" at Children's. These kind folks work in the Merchandising Department.

The membership of the T. C. Club voted to send a gift of $50. Thank you.

The next three contributions arrived from some of the hospital's supporters in the federal government. Checks from eight members of the Geological Survey sent $80. A collection in the Office of the Production Manager of the Government Printing Office yielded $85 from the generous people there. And a check for $100 was sent by Commerce Department employees working in the Office of Textiles and Apparel. As always, our heartfelt thanks go out to our federal friends.

Members of The Vacationers Club, a social, nonprofit organization in Hyattsville, could not decide between Children's Hospital and another "deserving" charity.They settled on splitting their available funds, and sent the hospital $100.

"On behalf of the staff members of the Andrews Federal Credit Union, we are sending a contribution in the amount of $178.50. This money was collected in lieu of card or gift exchanges among the employees," said a letter from that group. They continued, "We hope that in our small way we may have helped a child toward a happy, healthy new year."

You certainly have, as do all contributions, large and small, to our annual fund-raising campaign.

Grabbing top honors today with a generous contribution of $582 were the employees of the Thrift Oil Co. That name almost seems like a contradiction in terms these days, but there's absolutely no argument with the thriftiness and thoughtfulness of a group that gathers $582. Many thanks. t

The abacus says these 13 groups added $1,336.81 to the shoebox, and when we add the $490 from individuals our receipts for the day become $1,826.81. Inasmuch as we began the day with $156,278.79, our running total moves to $158,105.60. We're still a long way from home. My address, in case you've forgotten, is Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.