Just down the street from the Roy Rogers, just before you get to the gas station, there is a place of major magic on Viers Mill Road in Silver Spring.
The sign on the door says it's the Viers Mill Branch of Suburban Bank. But it's actually the home of Patty Stromberg and her army of askers.
Patty is a teller at the Viers Mill Suburban, which means she usually takes in as much money as she gives out. But for the last four years, Patty has been the engine, battery and transmission behind one of the most successful collections-only efforts in the area. The beneficiary: Children's Hospital.
The Stromberg technique is to ask for change. Whenever a customer has a few cents due on a transaction, Patty or her fellow tellers will ask: "Would you like to give it to Children's Hospital?"
Almost always, the answer is yes. So into specially marked cans go Joe's 98 cents, Sally's 43 cents, whatever Viers Mill customers care to give.
This year, they have cared to give more than ever. The total kicked in by Viers Mill customers for 1985-86 is a whopping $3,789.30.
"Our customers are truly special," wrote Patty, in a letter accompanying the $3,789.30 check. She might have applied the same description to herself -- and to her fellow staffers. Well done, gang -- and here's hoping the same question meets with even better results in '86-'87.
Not exactly slouches are the other recent group donors to our annual campaign on behalf of sick kids. They are:
Sue Ellen Lee's students at Oakwood School in Annandale ($154).
The D:R Program Planning and Review Staff at the Internal Revenue Service ($146.58).
The staff at Gainesville Elementary School in Haymarket, Va. ($60).
John J. Kavookian Co. of Northwest ($500).
Employes of the Office of Flight Standards, Federal Aviation Administration ($355, and the 23rd consecutive year this group has remembered Children's).
The staff of the National Peace Institute Foundation in Northeast ($60).
Club Americana Inc., of Southeast ($100).
The Information and Data Systems Division of the National Park Service ($185).
Staffers at the Shady Grove Executive Branch of Suburban Bank ($30).
Office employes of Cathedral Management Services Inc., of Arlington ($110).
A-Copy America of Rockville ($305).
The Hays & Hays Bee & Burro Ranch of Purcellville, Va. ($103.16).
The Office of Municipal Pollution Control, Environmental Protection Agency ($406.10, double last year's donation and the 13th contribution in a row from this bunch).
The Comptroller/Supply Department, Headquarters, Naval District of Washington ($128).
The football pool players at United Security Mortgage Corporation in Kensington ($25).
Employes of the Town and Country Day School of Kensington ($300).
The student government at Moten Middle School in Southeast (1,455 wonderful dollars and 70 terrific cents raised through the school's Fifth Annual Children's Hospital Day Carol-A-Thon -- great job, gang!)
The cafeteria staff at the British Embassy ($40).
The troops at the Information Processing Division, Goddard Space Flight Center ($60).
The U.S. Army Soldier Support Center in Alexandria ($133).
The staff and friends of the Accounts Payable Department at MCI Telecommunications in Arlington ($125).
The Polinger Company of Chevy Chase ($190 instead of an office gift exchange).
The motorcycle road racing team of Cycle Service Center in LaPlata, Md. ($25).
The law offices of Steven H. Oram, Chartered, in Bethesda ($35).
Staffers at the American Council of Life Insurance in Northwest ($1,810, to mark the 15th consecutive annual gift from these generous people).
Marjorie Levine's special education students at Seabrook Elementary School (94 much-appreciated cents, kids).
Commonwealth Aluminum Corporation of Bethesda ($1,000 on behalf of its 60 Bethesda-based employes).
Members of the English Studies Division, Prince George's Community College ($290).
The Five Carolers of Quintana Street, Riverdale ($13.25).
The staff of the Defense Security Assistance Agency ($275 from a Christmas party raffle).
Breed, Abbott & Morgan, a downtown law firm ($90).
Staffers at the American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences in Georgetown ($310).
Officers and employes at Broughton Painting & Decorating Company, Upper Marlboro ($200).
Employes of The Artery Organization, Chevy Chase ($510).
Members of the Chevy Chase Business and Professional Women's Club ($75).
Employes of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America ($377.20).
The Washington Saengerbund ($84).
Employes of GENASYS Corporation ($372.50).
The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Montgomery County Central ($50).
Members of The Washington Post accounting department ($373).
The Simulation Technology Branch of Harry Diamond Laboratories, Adelphi ($200).
Customers and employes of Peoples Drug Store No. 1288 on Bel Pre Road in Silver Spring ($101).
The American Legion Auxiliary, Henderson-Smith-Edmonds Unit No. 86, Rockville ($76).
The Air Force Publishing Division at Bolling Air Force Base ($205).
The Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association, Inc. of Northwest ($125, $50 of it in honor of Martha L. Fabry).
Beaubien and Bell, a Maryland CPA firm ($25 in honor of Gidget Geber).
Angela App and her Christmas-caroling buddies in the Hillsborough section of Laurel ($118.25).
The Office of Budget, Comptroller, General Services Administration ($210).
The Bureau of Reclamation, Department of the Interior ($71.52).
Spring Cleaning and Maintenance Company of Falls Church ($25).
The ADP Equipment Management Branch at the Internal Revenue Service ($146).
The Klown-A-Bouts at Franconia United Methodist Church in Alexandria ($50).
The Hawaii State Society ($101).
The Every Other Thursday Night Bridge Club ($25).
The Wednesday Morning Stars, an Alexandria bowling league ($15).
Fletcher's Boat House Inc., of Northwest ($100).
Employes of Calvert-Jones Co. Inc., of Alexandria ($534 in the names of their bosses, Stanley L. Calvert, Alton S. Peregoy and Richard J. Dillard).
The Killer Gerbils softball team ($20).
And employes of Aerospace Industries Association of America Inc. ($617, with a special tip of the cap to Maureen Marlowe).
Really great! Thanks very, very much.
TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE CAMPAIGN:
Make a check or money order payable to Children's Hospital and mail it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., 20071. The campaign ends on Jan. 24.