In about three weeks, our annual fund raiser for Children's Hospital will be over. Then the government is going to receive a request for a grant to study and decipher the contributor trends that have become evident in our effort since Dec. 1.
That request will come from me. You would be amazed at the sixth sense that develops when you throw yourself into something completely new and "sink or swim." Since Dec. 1, I've opened and read thousands of letters. Without question there are definite identifiable habits that categorize a vast majority of the letters from contributors.
One of the less concrete corollaries I've discovered is that contributions of peculiar amounts almost always are explained in a note or letter. Today there are several interesting letters containing checks of unusual amounts from both private individuals and organizations. The following is the first of its kind to come to my attention:
"I am a lobbyist. Recently I took a woman out to lunch who refused to let me pay for her meal. Since I couldn't be reimbursed for the expenditure unless I paid for the whole thing, I submitted a claim for the entire amount. However, I don't feel right about coming out ahead on the deal, so I'm sending you the money she gave me."
Enclosed was a check for $9.
A check of $23 represented one dollar for every inch of height (lengh?) someone's new baby has attained.
"Herewith my contribution plus 12 1/2 percent," began a letter explaining a personal contribution of $183.75. It's really great to get this kind of reponse. It proves that someone out there is reading the column.
These three checks and 56 others from unnamed District Liners gave us an "individuals" total of $2,139.75 today. The pipeline also brought in a nice selection of gifts from organizations and informal groups.
A bridge club in Bowie celebrated its 15th year by sending a check for $15 to the hospital. A check for $18.08 was sent by the Production Control Staff of CIA's Office of Central Reference. Children living in the Marbury Estates area of Maryland earned $24.85 with their caroling. Two checks totaling $27 arrived from the Population Division at the Census Bureau. For the third year, employees of the Fairfax Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Store diverted a nickel from the cost of each cake they decorated with a "Peanuts" motif. This year they did enough Peanuts cakes to earn $35 for the children. m
Another $35 was sent by the kind people belonging to the James Ryder Randall Elementary School Hospitality Club in honor of their school principal. A group of 31 Oxon Hill kindergarteners banded together and earned $41.39 by doing extra chores, skipping treats, or squeezing their allowances. The staff of OMB's Federal Aquisition Institute sent $56. A check for $100 arrived from our friends at Foster Associates, Inc. The Alexandria Bicentennial Lions Club, suffering from membership problems, recently voted to disband. To help liquidate their existing funds, the members chose Children's Hospital as the recipient of $110.
Employees in the Rosslyn office of Logicon collected $116, nearly three times their contribution of last year. Instead of a coffee fund, the folks at Energy and Environmental Analysis, Inc., leave collection pots at the coffee counters. This year the odd change and some checks yielded $118.28.
Another crew from the Census Bureau, the Construction Statistics Division, passed on intramural exchange of holiday cards and saved $189 for the hospital with the built-in deficit. Also sending in the office savings on greeting cards were the staffers of Officer Systems Branch. They contributed a total of 205.25.
"This effort was our best so far," exclaimed a letter from employees of the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. Enclosed were 13 checks totaling $454.
Members of the Washington Regional Office of the U.S. General Accounting Office maintained their nonexchange-of-cards policy and netted $610 for the free care fund.
Runaway top honors today went to employees of Computer Sciences Corp. They sent the fattest wad of checks I've seen, $2,276 worth, and gave me a big lift.
These 17 organizations added $4,130.85 to today's total. Together with the $2,136.75 mentioned earlier, the pipeline yielded $6,570.60. Yesterday we left off with $132,385.76 in the shoebox, but after today's addition there is now $138,956.36, waiting to be delivered to the children.
It's been several days since I reminded you all of my address, so here it is again. Please send your tax-deductible check, payable to Children's Hospital, to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. As college students often say, "Write me a letter. Send money!"