Stop smiling, Levey. But I can't help it.

Why can't you help it? Because our Children's Hospital campaign is cooking along like a runaway freight train.

Levey, your figures of speech are hopeless. But worse: Aren't you exaggerating just a mite? Not in the slightest. Take a look at the numbers.

Grand total to date: $77,724.44.

Total given this week: $41,662.42.

Individual donors to date: 1,561.

Group donors to date: 119.

You weren't kidding, were you? I sure wasn't. Last year at this time, we had collected $62,828.18. That means we're almost 25 percent ahead of what turned out to be a record year.

So everyone who hasn't contributed yet can forget it, right? What are you, some kind of comedian? We're still more than a quarter of a million dollars short of where I hope to end up, with only a little more than a month to go.

So what should people do? I was hoping you'd ask.


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

Does your company offer a matching gift program? Many of the larger ones do. It's an easy, effective way to double (and in some cases, triple) your gift to Children's. The personnel office can fill you in.

Another "free" source of funds this year is a trade-in arrangement initiated by Heinz Baby Foods.

All you have to do is to peel off labels from any Heinz baby food jar or box and mail them to Children's (111 Michigan Ave. NW., Washington, D.C. 20010). The hospital in turn mails all labels to Heinz headquarters in Pittsburgh. Then Heinz returns 6 cents per label to the hospital, to use however it likes. Children's "take" from the program is $22,000 so far this year.

The program expires on Dec. 31, so now is the time to start saving (and sending in) labels. The Heinz public relations office can provide further information if you need it. The phone number is (412) 237-5757.

Your dollars bring health and hope to sick kids. This year, they'll also bring bulbs.

That's the growing kind, not the kind you screw into a lamp. Here's how the arrangement works:

For every $50 contribution we receive from now until the end of the campaign, The Washington Youth Gardens will donate one potted amaryllis bulb to the hospital. Nothing brightens up a hospital room like a flowering plant, and Children's welcomes these. Naturally, we here at Currency Control welcome the $50-plus gifts that will send those bulbs on their way.

WYG is a 20-year-old gardening program for the city's kids. More than 350 participate, at three sites. If you'd like to know more about the program, the phone number is 789-2900.

Room for just a few recent Group Givers:

The Striking Beauties Bowling League gave $70.

The Presidential Towers Social Club in Adelphi contributed $25.

Matt Kane's, the downtown saloon, gave $81.

And the employes of Dale Music Company Inc. of Silver Spring kicked in $40.

Many thanks, one and all.