We have reached the one-quarter mark of our annual fund-raising drive on behalf of Children's Hospital, and the bad signs continue to outnumber the good.

Our grand total is within reach of last year's at the same time. But the number of donors -- both groups and individuals -- is far behind the 1989-'90 totals after two weeks. We may be settling in for a 1990-'91 campaign that's as cold as the weather.

The Week Two figures:

Grand Total to Date: $60,201.38.

Grand Total at the Same Time Last Year: $66,985.06.

Total Given This Week: $25,557.72.

Individual Donations to Date: 316.

Group Donations to Date: 101.

The two top lines are close enough to one another that I'm not going to start chewing my nails -- not this early in the campaign, anyway. But the two bottom lines continue to show a drop of about 30 percent over the comparable figures of a year ago. If this continues, my nails -- all ten of them -- will be mere memories.

No doubt the economic woes of the last few months are causing many groups and individuals to take another look at their Children's giving. I can certainly understand such caution.

But I also suspect that Children's will be providing more free care than usual during this holiday season to families that are too poor to pay for the care their children receive. That has always been the case in past economic downturns. I'd be surprised if it weren't the case this time.

So if your pockets still have contents, won't you please dig deep and make a donation to our drive? Children's has delivered quality medical care to our community since 1870, and the need never vanishes. Children's will continue to offer care to one and all -- but only if we help. Many thanks.

A reminder to the tax-conscious among you:

If you itemize deductions, your donation to Children's Hospital is fully deductible on your 1990 state and federal income tax returns. However, your check or money order must be dated no later than Dec. 31, 1990.


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