By Katinka Podmaniczky

All year ‘round, employees of the Boston Public Health Commission serve the city in many capacities. But during the holidays, they are especially generous.

Here are just a few examples of the many ways BPHC employees gave back this holiday season.

Throughout the month of November, BPHC employees held bake sales, pot luck lunches, dress-down days, and even a flea market to raise money for bostonCANshare. It was the most successful year yet, with a grand total of $3,627 raised in cash and can donations. bostonCANshare is an annual food drive sponsored by Mayor Menino, the Mayor’s Office of Food Initiatives, FedEx, and The Greater Boston Food Bank. Learn more here.

On December 6, uniformed members of Boston EMS brought Santa and his merry elves to visit and bring toys to the children of Boston’s SPARK Center and the Smile Pre-School in Dudley Square. This is the thirty-third year in a row that EMS staff wrapped gifts for the children, readied Santa’s sleigh with presents, and helped to brighten the season for this group of deserving children.

On the 12th, more than fifty BPHC staff – many from programs unrelated to Homeless Services – joined with hundreds of others to volunteer for the city’s annual homeless census. The count helps put a number to the unmet need for housing, emergency shelter beds, treatment resources, and other services.

Every year, Commission employees participate in COBECC, the City of Boston Employees Charitable Campaign, to donate to organizations and activities like community health centers, drug treatment facilities, after-school activities for kids, environmental advocacy, social services for the elderly, and the arts. This year, we raised more than $23,000 – a higher total than 2011 – and had higher participation than the previous year, as well.

Meanwhile, BPHC’s Healthy Baby/Healthy Child program collected presents donated by colleagues for the children they serve, and on December 20, the Boston Public Health Police teamed up with Project Smile to donate stuffed animals, coloring books along with crayons, small toys and reading books to children at BPHC’s Entre Famila program.

Wishing you a warm and bright holiday filled with giving back, as well!

Katinka is the assistant director of communications.