Two crisp shiny greenbacks floated like snowflakes from a letter sent by one of two brothers. Our young philanthropic friend wrote:
"When my Grandma and Grandpa come to visit, they always give my brother and me some money. We are very lucky. We would like to help some children who are less lucky. Please take the money that they gave us on their last visit and use it to help Children's Hospital."
Their small but significant gift will be added to all the other charitable contributions I receive. I deliver the funds to Children's hospital on behalf of participating District Liners to help pay for free or low cost medical care which the hospital provides to needy children all year long. It's an expensive proposition, and worthy of our support.
Children's would literally need a blizzard of greenbacks just to dent the operating deficit they accrue every year because of "free care or collection losses." Last year those so-called "losses" totaled over $3.2 million. That's why I'm dreaming of a green Christmas.
Two checks, each for $5, arrived separately bearing the tag "widow's mite." I mention it because once again I want to emphasize the importance of every gift to Children's Hospital, regardless of amount. Both $5 checks were sent in by concerned elderly women living on fixed incomes. They sent what they could afford.
Another letter, containing $10, related how the writer's child had been "treated like a millionaire" when admitted eight years ago for a minor problem. "Our writer also apologized for the size of her check, adding that she intended to ask all her friends to make a contribution to Children's.
These four respondents all did what they reasonably could to help Children's Hospital provide free medical care for needy children in and around Our Town. It's up to the rest of us to do the same.
Fortunately, several area employers and organizations came to the rescue on Christmas morning.
Again this year, the staff of the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training in the U.S. Department of Labor decided to donate "monies customarily spent in exchanging holiday greeting cards" to Children's Hospital. They raised $127.
Sending $130 were employes of the Image Processing Branch, Code 563.1, at Goddard Space Flight Center. Using the in-lieu-of-Christmas-cards system again with great success this year were colleagues of the Defense Department's Product Engineering Services Office at Cameron Station. They saved $135.50 for the children. The bookworms of the Science Policy Research Division of the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress sent $140.
A total of $210 was the fruit harvested by employes of the Commerce Department's NOAA Engineering Division when they decided to collect the money usually spent on interoffice Christmas cards. The same method netted $212 from the fine folks at Delta Electronics Inc. in Alexandria.
Foregoing the impulse to send holiday greeting cards to clients and friends, the professional staff at the Deepwood Veterinary Center in Clifton, Va., decided instead to send the savings, $300, to Children's Hospital.
The savings derived from the non-exchange of greeting cards among colleagues who see each other every day at the office totaled $560 for members of the faculty and staff in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland. Their greetings were conveyed to others in the department by their in-house newsletter.
Topping today's list was the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. They also declined to exchange cards, and raised $504.50, which the Academy will match for a total of $1,009. This year marks their 14th annual contribution to Children's Hospital, and today's gift raises their cumulative total to over $5,600. Thank you very much.
Our five individuals today sent $52 and our nine organizations added $2,823.50 for a Christmas Eve total of $2,875.50. Adding that to the $45,117.87 already in the shoebox gives us a year-to-date figure of $47,993.37. $4Let's do better!
Here's that address again. Please send your tax-deductible check, made payable to Children's Hospital, to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.
May your days be cheery and light, and may all your Christmases be white!