One reader's reaction to my suggestion about the non exchange of Christmas cards among friends produced this middle-of-the-road response.
"I have just finished sending out 101 Christmas cards," she wrote, "and decided to send you a dollar in remembrance of each of these friends and relatives.My check for $101 is enclosed."
Anyone who can sit down and remember Children's Hospital after all that is to be commended.
The pipeline has been as active as promised. I'm almost keeping up with the mail. But certain types of organizations lend themselves to grouping, and I want to assure all District Liners that their letters have not been forgotten. I've been saving schools, bowling leagues, bridge clubs, and a few other categories for future columns.
So don't worry if you sent your letter in on Dec. 3, and still haven't seen it in the paper. It's coming! First, let's clear out some more of the avalanche of schools and educational organizations that have come pouring in for the past few days.
The second graders at Sterling Elementary School in Sterling, Va., collected $15. Another group of primary schoolers at Cooper Lane Elementary, gathered $16.65, the "sum total of their daily contributions of nickels and dimes."
My 4th grader friends in Room 108 at District Heights Elementary sent $17.96 and a letter reading, "because some of our classmates have been in Children's Hospital, we decided to help out. We did little jobs to earn the money. We also gave coins we found on the playground."
Abandoning classroom gift exchanges in favor of helping the hospital, some 5th graders at Kenmoor Elementary went caroling one night and raised $20.67.
"The faculty and staff of Francis T. Evans Elementary have decided to contribute to Children's Hospital this year rather than exchange gifts," said a letter with a check for $25 from our supporters in Clinton. Members of a 6th grade class at Oakton Elementary sent in $32 saved by not exchanging presents.
Giving up ice cream, their holiday party "and other extras" brought the hospital $34.75 from 2nd graders at Spring Hill Elementary. Adding $45 were the cafeteria employees at Robert Goddard Junior High.
A hand-illustrated picture of a happy patient at Children's Hospital graced the cover of a homemade greeting card sent to me by the 2nd and 3rd graders at Rosecroft Park Elementary in Oxon Hill. The card contained $61 to keep 'em smiling at the hospital.
A "white elephant" sale in lieu of exchanging presents among the combination class of 5th and 6th graders in Room 12 at Pimmit Hills Elementary yielded $70.08.
The spirit of one young student who sat on Santa's knee asking that all sick children be well and at home for Christmas was reflected in the $72.60 gift her classmates in the 1st and 2nd grades at Lynbrook School in Springfield collected for Children's Hospital.
Eight members of the English Studies Division at Prince George's Community College sent in $165 in lieu of card exchange. This was their eighth year of participation, and boosted their all-time total to over $1,000.
The staff and students of Laurel Elementary School raised $182.20, but forgot to tell me how they did it.
"Light up a Life -- Give to Children's Hospital" was the theme of a campaign that netted $326.70 from our friends at Thomas Jefferson High School.
A letter from members of the Psychology Department of the University of Maryland asked me to "please accept the enclosed personal checks, totaling $560, on behalf of Children's Hospital." No problem, friends.
A month ago I got a letter from the principal at Martin Luther King, Jr. Junior High School telling me they would soon be sending in their annual donation. Well, it certainly was worth the wait. Their vice principal wrote:
"Enclosed is a check for $1,230 for the Children's Hospital. The students of Martin Luther King Jr., Junior High just completed their 8th annual Christmas drive."
The students contributed to class pots during lunch periods from Dec. 3 to Dec. 21. The 7th grade gave $309.12, the 8th grade gave $408.07, and the winners of the 9th grade delivered $491.10. That doesn't add up to $1,230, but I'm not going to return the check for an explanation. Many thanks and a tip of the hat to our social-conscious students in Beltsville.
These 17 schools combined to add $2,894.88 to the shoebox. Together with the $2,164 sent in by 82 anonymous District Liners, our daily take is $5,058.88. Inasmuch as the shoebox held $71,892.10 yesterday, our new total is $76,950.98.
We're slowly creeping to the big $100,000 mark. What are we waiting for? The need won't go away.