Have you ever wondered to yourself, “What can I possibly do to change the world, or at least to change my portion of it this Christmas?” The world we live in is so often caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season that it’s difficult to know just what we can do. Frank and Barbara Frodsham, founders of the Frodsham Community Christmas back in 1991, wondered those same things 27 years ago. Little could anyone foresee the miracles that were about to begin.
In December of 1991, Barbara Frodsham, long time resident of Farmington, Utah, was approached by a good friend who had just gone through a difficult divorce. The friend explained to Barbara that her ex had the kids on Christmas Eve, and she didn’t know what to do with herself. This friend, feeling very alone without her family, had an idea that she could go down to the viaduct in Salt Lake and invite homeless people to come to a Christmas party. She asked Frank and Barbara if they could put up their tepee and if Barbara could make some stew. She suggested asking the LDS missionaries and a few friends to join them so it would feel more like a party. That year, complete with a campfire, warm stew, and Christmas carols, 37 people gathered for a party at the Frodsham’s barn in Farmington, Utah. As Barbara tells the story, “…and we just all enjoyed it so much! So, then we took them home and decided to do it again next year.” The next year, an example of a Christmas miracle, the spirit of which would be emulated a thousand times over many for years to come, took place as Barbara recounts, “I remember the second year, we had two or three families go (to Salt Lake City) with their Suburbans and invite homeless people to come out. One neighbor said, ‘You don’t have any gifts!’ He went home and took everything from under his Christmas tree and brought it over with his kids.” The same Christmas spirit that motivated this man and his family to donate their Christmas seems to abide in the hearts of everyone who participates in this great event. Every year since it began it has grown. Many individuals and community organizations have heard about it and have thrown their effort and energy behind it. It has grown from 37 close friends and neighbors to hundreds of new friends and members of the greater community. Barbara sums it up, “Everybody enjoys it. Everybody has a smile on their face and a tear in their eye – many of them!”
From 1991 to 2015, Barbara and Frank continued to organize and host the Frodsham Homeless Party, now known as the Frodsham Community Christmas, at their barn. However, in 2015, 14 days after the 25th annual Frodsham Community Christmas, their eldest son, Bret, died of cancer. He had become the main organizer of the Frodsham Community Christmas and it was difficult to know what to do without him at the helm. The plan was to end the annual event in 2015, or at least Barbara and Frank’s involvement in it would end 2015, even though they hoped that someone would continue with what they had started. To their delight, in 2017, that’s exactly what happened.
Marshall Frodsham, Bret’s only son, having returned from an LDS mission in 2016, came home to find the Christmas season quite empty without the Frodsham Community Christmas. Jayna Scadden, a family friend of similar age, who had been even more involved in the event, felt the same way. The two of them decided to restart the “Frodsham Community Christmas engine” after a year’s hiatus and continue with the beloved tradition.
Their first year as the main organizers, 2017, demonstrated that the community had not forgotten about it either. Now hosted at the Legacy Event Center in west Farmington because the Frodsham barn is no longer large enough to accommodate the guests and volunteers and mountains of donations, the event moves forward with no end in sight. In 2017, it once again benefitted thousands, both those giving and receiving.
In order for Frodsham Community Christmas to continue benefitting those in our community, we invite you to get involved. It is such a rewarding and heart-warming experience. Whether your contribution is a financial donation, wrapped gifts, clothing, food, giving tickets to those whom you know are in need, or donating time at the event, we promise that you will never forget the miracle that happens every year - the miracle that some in our community call the Frodsham Community Christmas.
Barbara and Frank Frodsham