"Another "gray-haired little old lady in tennis shoes' sends on this contribution which is in addition to my previous regular contribution of $20," began one of 42 anonymous letters received this morning.

"This check represents the amount I received from using 'cents-off coupons' during 1980, mainly at the local Safeway store.

"P.S. I couldn't think of a better investment for my 'cents-off fund."

Our writer sent in $29.07 saved with sale coupons. Another letter, containing $32, revealed the secret of a true procrastinator:

"If you really want to do something, do it when you should be doing something else."

Finally, a check for $100 came from a generous citizen who wrote:

"Today is my birthday and I can think of no happier way to begin it than by sending my contribution to Children's Hospital."

Happy birthday, friend! Our celebrant should be even happier to hear that 42 District Liners sent in $1,206.07 this morning. Also joining today's party for Children's Hospital were the following local groups, employers and organizations.

A check for $25 came from the Brown Bag Bridge Club. "We hope you make your bid -- wish it could be doubled -- and a grand slam!" they wrote. Checks for $30 were sent in by members of Harry Diamond Laboratories "Engr. Tech. Br."

One of two checks for $50 arrived from Cheney Elementary School in Fort Belvoir. The other came from the Career Circle, a group of women "who have been friends for 25 years, some still active and all originally belonging to St. Paul United Methodist Church of Chevy Chase."

The Skyline Towers Civic Association in Falls Church "voted unanimously" to send our hospital $75. The four sixth grade classes at Westlawn Elementary School, also in Falls Church, after holding class meetings, decided to donate the money they would have spent on class gifts to Children's. Their check totaled $132.47.

"In keeping with the Independent Order of Foresters' pledge to help stamp out child abuse, Court Northern Virginia sends the enclosed check for $150 to Children's Hospital," wrote their chief ranger.

In lieu of exchanging Christmas cards, the 26 employes of the American Podiatry Association collected $201 for our young, needy patients. Checks totaling $211 were the contributions gathered by the Accounting Department personnel at Southern Railway System in its "Christmas Card for the Hospital."

Also using the "in lieu of" method were staffers at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They raised $235. For four consecutive years, members of the Transportation and Public Utilities Service have refrained from exchanging holiday greeting cards. That "sacrafice" netted $273 this year.

"Enclosed please find checks totaling $340 from Taylor Elementary School in Arlington," began a letter from their Hospitality Committee. "Special note should be taken of contributions from: the staff, the Hearing Impaired Class, two fourth grade classes and parents and friends."

Some of the staff at the International Trade Commission voted to make a contribution to Children's instead of supporting the greeting card industry. The result of the vote was $363.50 for the free card fund.

Our top contributors this morning were the fine folks of the National Center for Antibiotics Analysis and friends from the rest of Pharmaceutical Research and Testing at the Food and Drug Administration's Bureau of Drugs. For nine straight years these people have contributed to Children's in lieu of exchanging cards and each year the amount has grown. This season they raised $523.

Those 14 groups added $2,608.97 to the $1,206.07 contributed by District Liners for a daily total of $3,815.04. When we last looked in the shoebox on Thursday, it contained $139,172.11 so it now holds $142,987.15.

Children's Hospital is a Washington institution over one hundred years old. It was incorporated in 1870 for the "gratuitous (medical) treatment of indigent children without regard to sex, race or creed."

To help continue this invaluable work, please send your tax-deductible check, made payable to Children's Hospital, to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.

Don't forget the children!