BY DOMINGO RAMIREZ JR.

Seven of MedStar’s executive team issued a challenge to the ambulance service’s members as a Christmas goal: adopt 50 kids and donate 50 toys for One Safe Place and Samaritan House in Fort Worth. Executive members even offered an incentive: reach those goals and they would wear for an entire day pink bunny suits like the one in “A Christmas Story.” The results: 51 children adopted and 162 toys collected.

The executive team will be wearing those bunny suits very soon. “We are exceptionally proud of our team and honored to help those in need this holiday season!,” said Matt Zavadsky, MedStar spokesman, in an email.

One Safe Place received dozens of toys on Dec. 10 for its Holiday Toy Store. MedStar officials also participated in the agency’s Holiday HOPE Giver program, adopting two families and providing for them and their holiday wishes.

One Safe Place is a comprehensive crime and violence prevention agency that operates a family justice center, providing services to survivors of domestic violence. Year-to-date, 1,029 survivors have gone through the family justice intake process, receiving a danger assessment, safety plan and service plan connecting them to the services of 20 partner agencies.

So far this year, 7,992 total on-site family justice center visits have been reported at One Safe Place, according to agency statistics.

“Children who experience the trauma of witnessing domestic violence suffer the same long-term mental and emotional harm as children who are physically abused. Our goal is to increase hopefulness in child witnesses because thousands of studies have proven that hopefulness is the key to overcoming trauma,” said Jessi Rixie, director of advocacy at One Safe Place, in an email to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “For many of the children we serve, having presents under the tree on Christmas morning represents hope for a better future. MedStar’s generosity means the world to us and the families we serve.”

MedStar also delivered toys on Dec. 10 to the Samaritan House in Fort Worth.

The Samaritan House is an agency that supports vulnerable men, women and children by providing housing, resources and hope. Their clients are low-income, medically or mentally fragile, or have formerly experienced housing insecurity.

Samaritan House is the largest provider of permanent supportive housing and affordable housing in Tarrant County and offers a variety of supportive services. “MedStar helped make Christmas possible,” said Cassandra Morga, development manager at Samaritan House in Fort Worth, in an email. “After 2020 the Christmas spirit has faltered within the community and we had a fear that 2021 would have the similar effect. However this year we had donors ‘adopt and shop’ for our kiddos and residents and we were able to get all 103 children adopted. MedStar adopted 50 of those children and their employees helped purchase all items on the Child’s Wishlist. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”

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