One-fourth of our annual Children's Hospital fund-raising exercise is behind us. But, sports fans, we need to do more than exercise.

We need to hit a few homers and score a few touchdowns if we're going to give sick kids the help they need. So far, however, it's been more like batting practice and a couple of field goals.

Here is what the second-week scorecard says:

Grand total to date: $36,062.02.

Total given this week: $15,289.66.

Individual donors to date: 713.

Group donors to date: 66.

Those totals are going to have to be far larger if we're going to help Children's patients whose parents can't afford to pay for the care their kids are getting. As the holidays approach, I'm confident that we'll pick up the pace.

But a nudge may be in order, especially if you've never contributed to our campaign before.

Lots of experienced donors send comments with their checks, and the most frequent is: This is a check you can feel good about writing.

What that means is that the money you send to Children's goes to help children. It doesn't pay for new carpeting in some executive's office. It doesn't send somebody to Barbados to study the latest medical developments while lying on the beach. And it doesn't pay for further fundraising. All the money goes for medical salaries and supplies. Period. It's money that couldn't be spent better.

Why give to Children's, instead of another hospital? The reason that has always persuaded me is that Children's serves the entire community, with the best specialists in the business.

Walk the halls of Children's, and ask the kids where they're from. It's an instant geography lesson. Southeast Washington. Falls Church. Landover Hills. In short, everywhere. If a kid is sick, Children's treats him first and asks him whether he can pay second. It's the sort of policy -- and the sort of hospital -- you'd want for your own child.

Children's has also solidified its reputation as the hospital for the toughies.

Just the other night, I met Dr. Muriel Wolf, the Children's Hospital pediatrician who treated a celebrated gaboon viper snakebite case a couple of years ago. The bite took place downtown. At least three other hospitals were as close to the scene, or closer. But the victim was taken to Children's, because it has the reputation of handling the hard ones. In this case, as in so many, that's exactly what Children's -- and Dr. Wolf -- did.

So as you make your holiday donations, be sure to set aside at least a few dollars for a hospital that delivers. It has made ours a stronger community for more than a century. It deserves your support.


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

These group donations have graced my mailbox in recent days:

The United Forty Niners ($50).

The Arlington Women's Club Duplicate Bridge Club ($42). Thanks, Pat Medding.

Silver Spring Memorial Auxiliary to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2562 ($100).

The Computation Mathematics and Logistics Department of the David Taylor Naval Ship Research and Development Center in Bethesda ($158.40 -- a penny for each of the 15,840 cups of coffee the troops consumed in the first 11 months of 1984).

Also from a coffee fund, the Field Examination Employes of the Foreign Operations District of the Internal Revenue Service ($150).

Thank you very, very much.