and this year's Send A Kid To Camp campaign seems in great danger of falling into the latter category.

Eight days ago, in this space, I sounded the alarm. I reported that we were about $100,000 short of our 1985 goal of $190,000. I noted that the first of four shifts of campers was scheduled to depart on July 1. I urged you to wipe out the deficit by that day, and I was confident that you would.

But more than half the hundred thou remains to be seen. We have amassed about $46,000 since a week ago Monday, which is no small feat. But that leaves us about $54,000 shy.

Now, we could decide to give up right about now. Toss the old hands in the air. Say we gave it our best shot, and that's the way it goes.

But if you care about seeing underprivileged kids have two weeks of camping experiences they might not get otherwise, you can't give up. The glass isn't $54,000 empty. It's $136,000 full. Our challenge is to finish filling it.

So I'm going to keep the doors of the R. Levey Money-Raising Emporium open for as long as it takes to reach the promised land of 190 grand.

It would have been nice to have met our goal by July 1. But since we didn't, we'll have to shoot for July 8, or July 12, or July Sometime. The date really isn't important. What is important is that we keep alive a 38-year tradition of coming through for kids whose families can't come through for them.

I'm not going to beat you over the head for contributions any more. There's a point of diminshing returns in that approach -- and we want to increase returns, not help them dwindle. I figure that everybody who was going to respond to my passionate pitches already has.

So let me address myself to the procrastinators out there, and the recipients of windfalls, and the people who walk around with a nagging feeling that they ought to be doing more to help people but can't figure out how.

This is how.

Send a Kid to Camp delivers the goods directly to the people who need them most. This is a program that demonstrates to the least lucky kids in our midst that strangers care about them. This is a program that shows kids that the real fun in this world is not amusement parks, video games and television, but staring down a bullfrog, taking a hike and smelling wild mountain flowers.

If you have meant to make a donation to our campaign, and it has just slipped your mind, please contribute today.

If your great uncle just left you a nice little lump, and you don't have a pressing place to put a piece of it, please contribute today.

If you like the idea that a kid should have two weeks away from the steamy streets of the city, please contribute today.

If we don't raise enough money, the result will be very simple -- and very painful. Some kids who've been counting on it won't get to go to camp.

These are kids who don't have any extra resources on which to draw. All they have is us. That's always been enough before. Let's make sure it is again.