After four weeks of smooth sailing, rough water has begun to surround our annual fund-raising campaign on behalf of Children's Hospital. For the first time in the 1985-86 drive, we are behind where we were at the same time a year ago.

The shortfall isn't all that dreadful -- about 8 percent or so. Still, 8 percent ahead would be a lot better than 8 percent behind. Perhaps we can turn our minus into a plus in the three remaining weeks of the campaign. With your help, it'll be a snap.

To specifics. Here's where we stand:

Grand total to date: $223,030.26.

Total given this week: $73,808.98.

Individual donors to date: 2,301.

Group donors to date: 504.

Please remember that every cent you give to our Children's campaign helps pay medical bills of sick kids whose families can't afford the cost of their care. This is not money that goes for new wallpaper or fancy stationery. It goes to assure a future for today's sick kids -- and tomorrow's.

So won't you make a contribution today? Your gift is tax deductible, and greatly appreciated. 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, Washington, D.C., 20071. The campaign ends on Jan. 24.

One aspect of this year's drive that's way ahead of last year's is the number of group donors. Here are a few of the reasons:

Staffers at the Committee on Science and Technology, House of Representatives, gave $25.

Staffers at Surrey & Morse, a downtown law firm ($400).

The Sears Contract Sales Office in Bethesda ($350).

Sue Fenn's 10th and 11th grade English students at Jefferson High School in Alexandria ($70).

Spring Valley Wine and Liquors, Inc. of -- where else? -- Spring Valley ($200).

The Information Management Office of LABCOM, Adelphi ($90).

The Community Relations and Crime Prevention Divisions of the Alexandria Police Department ($125).

W.J. Schafer Associates Inc., of Arlington ($2,005, the eighth consecutive donation from this outfit).

The staff at T.G.I. Fridays, Store No. 193, in Alexandria ($100).

Employes of the Division of Information Management, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ($71).

Annie Bell and friends at Arnold & Porter ($130).

The Assistant Commissioner's Office of Securities and Accounting Services, Bureau of the Public Debt, Treasury Department ($65).

Faculty, staff and graduate students at Marymount Junior School,Arlington ($50).

Pacific-Sierra Research Corp. of Rosslyn ($100).

Staffers on all three tours at the Data Site Section of the main post office ($129).

The patrons and employes of Dixie Liquors in Georgetown ($200).

The staff at Colton and Boykin, a Georgetown law firm ($784).

And Shady Grove Texaco of Gaithersburg ($150).

Many, many thanks to each of you.