We are poised for big things. We are also poised for a near miss. Which will it be? In seven days, we'll know at last.

Our annual eight-week-long fund-raising campaign on behalf of Children's Hospital is seven-eighths complete, and somehow, despite recession, inflation, plague and pestilence, we are still running slightly ahead of last year's record campaign. If the moon and the stars remain in the proper configuration, we might rush right past last year's final record total of $562,410.37.

Here are the Week Seven numbers:

Grand total to date: $490,772.71.

Grand total at the same time last year: $484,557.35.

Total given this week: $81,770.76.

Individual donations to date: 3,847.

Group donations to date: 720.

No question, $490,772 is some fancy stepping. We didn't crack the half-million-dollar barrier until last year. Clearly, we're about to crack it again. For that alone, I am grateful, and for that alone, you readers deserve great credit.

But we have another week to go, and a clear chance to finish fatter than we have ever finished in the 42 years that The Washington Post has been raising money during the holidays for Children's.

As you can see, we need a little less than $72,000. That's not chicken feed. But it's not impossible, either.

Let's close 1990-91 with a burst. Let's go over the top, as we have so often in the past. Let's help provide medical care at Children's to every child who needs it, regardless of the family's circumstances.

You readers have been terrific so far. Let's finish with a flourish that goes beyond terrific, all the way to wonderful. The kids are counting on you.


Make a check or money order payable to Children's Hospital and mail it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071.


Recent group contributors include:

The Big Blue Team, Circulation Service Center, The Washington Post ($200).

Employees, Kiplinger Washington Editors and Editors Press (a terrific $6,737.57 from these annual givers).

Middleridge Carolers, Fairfax ($80 with thanks to Heather Lundberg, Emily Bishop, Erin and Kerry Campane, Devlin Henderson, Margaux LaFortune and Michelle France).

National Conference of State Societies ($692.50 raised at the Christmas party).