Week Number Four of our annual Children's Hospital fund-raising campaign has produced the proverbial good and bad news.
The good: donations really picked up steam. In one week, we took in more money than we had during the previous three. We're very grateful, and just as hopeful that the upswing in both the number of contributions and the size of them continues.
The figures now look like this:
Grand total to date: $60,907.93.
Total given this week: $31,888.65.
Donations from individuals to date: 1,557.
Donations from groups to date: 55.
No, I haven't forgotten the bad news. How could I? In the 111 years that Children's has existed, the news has never been worse.
According to official figures, the free-care fund, which pays medical costs for children whose families cannot afford them, ran up a $10.4 million debt in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1981.
That debt is an all-time high. It rose by $3.8 million in just one year. It is singlehandedly responsible for the hospital's $8.3 million operating loss in the fiscal year (also a record). And both minus numbers are very likely to rise again.
The money we raise through this column goes to the free-care fund. It doesn't go anywhere else -- not to buy carpets, not to buy modern art, but for the care of the people in our community who can afford it least.
There are plenty of worthy causes around town, but giving a chance to a kid who might suffer or die if we don't help seems to me to be about as worthy as a cause can get.
Please help. Don't wait until you've finished your coffee. Scribble out a check for $5 or $10 -- or more if you can -- right now. It'll be one check you'll feel good about writing.
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, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20071.