"If we had to go strictly by the ledger sheet we'd be just another hospital," said Dr. Donald W. Delaney, the associate director for patient care and education at Children's Hospital. He was talking about some of the unique patient services at Children's, and the need for continued public support to keep Our Hospital at the forefront of modern pediatrics.

"One of two goals we are working on this year is the establishment of an emergency network within the District in which we would be the children's arm of that network," Delaney added. "Another goal is the accumulation of knowledge through research.

Delaney went on to explain that Children's Hospital provides three types of medical care all in one building. The hospital provides primary, or outpatient, care, which is equivalent to seeing a personal physician. Its characteristics are continuity and anticipatory care.

Most hospitals specialize in secondary, or inpatient, care, which is needed when primary facilities are inadequate. The secondary patient must go to the hospital because he or she requires services such as intravenous feeding or vital signs monitoring that can't be provided at home.

Children's Hospital goes one step further -- tertiary care. The hospital is the regional referral center for "super special problems," as Dr. Delaney said, and includes on its staff "super specialists."

"The kids come alive in their spirit when they get here," Dr. Delaney concluded happily.

As more and more citizens become aware of the role played by Children's Hospital in Our Town, more and more sick and needy children arrive at the emergency room for medical treatment of all three types. Often their parents are unable to afford the bills such treatment generates, and that's where we step in.

Each year Children's Hospital makes an appeal to area citizens to help support its invaluable community work. The hospital is required by law to provide free or low cost medical care to indigent children. The hospital staff, of course, determines whether and what parents may be able to pay in each case. But no child has ever been turned away for a lack of money.

"For the Love of Children" is a device for providing recognition to area citizens, groups, organizations and employers for their support of Children's Hospital. Private contributions are kept anonymous because it would be simply impossible to acknowledge everyone in this space. Groups get a little bit of ink.

Today's mail included this promise from a new member of the no-strings-attached Shoebox Club:

"Enclosed, please find my meager contribution to Children's Hospital," began a letter containing $5. "I unfortunately suffer from the same built-in deficit as the hospital, but I promise to increase my contribution next year by the percent of inflation, at least.

That's the percent we need to send the hospital the same amount of curing power we delivered last year. There's still room for a couple of area groups to help us approach that new annual total.

Employes of the Office of Flight Operations, Federal Aviation Aviation Administration, sent $60. They've helped Children's for 18 years now. A "supplemental contribution from our staff of $65" boosted the Federal Communications Commission to a grand total of $516 this year.

A condominium Christmas party at Fairlington Village netted $195.75 for the kids.

"The boys and girls at the Washington office of the American Medical Association have ponied up their nickels and dimes to contribute again this year to Children's Hospital instead of exchanging gifts," read a letter containing $230.

Speaking of parties and gifts, the Tantallon Country Club Christmas party thrown by Harry J. Ginter, Associates, an insurance firm, has come up with another $1,020. A check for $1,000 from a partner of the law firm of Giordano, Bush & Villareale, P.A., and the other $20, pushed the total of the hugely successful Ginter gala to nearly $5,300. Everything was done with community support, everybody had a wonderful evening, and Children's ended up the beneficiary.

A quick recount shows that 24 anonymous individuals sent in $770.89 and our 5 groups added $1,572.75 for a daily total of $2,343.64. Inasmuch as the shoebox held $110,104.69 yesterday, today it must hold $112,448.33.