A Frodsham Family Christmas

Dec 26 2013 - 12:09am

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Event founder Barbara Frodsham, 82, and volunteer Jayna Cadden ride in a open sleigh Saturday in Farmington to bring holiday spirit to needy families. (BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
The Frodsham family and many volunteers have been putting together a Christmas celebration for the last 22 years, inviting those at area homeless shelters to come enjoy a meal, pick out cold-weather gear, toys and other goods that have been donated. (BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
Event founder Barbara Frodsham, 82, and volunteer Jayna Cadden ride in a open sleigh Saturday in Farmington to bring holiday spirit to needy families. (BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner)
The Frodsham family and many volunteers have been putting together a Christmas celebration for the last 22 years, inviting those at area homeless shelters to come enjoy a meal, pick out cold-weather gear, toys and other goods that have been donated. (BRIAN WOLFER/Special to the Standard-Examiner)

FARMINGTON -- It was a Christmas party for more than 1,000 people at the Frodsham Farm in Farmington.

The farm was adorned with Christmas trees decked with hats, scarfs and mittens, farm buildings filled with toys, grassy areas lined with endless racks of clothes, and tables piled with homemade quilts.

Nearly 800 of the guests Saturday were visitors from local homeless shelters and families in need throughout Davis County. They were given the opportunity to select clothes, gifts and quilts to take home, free of charge.

The fun didn't end there, with nearly 100 pots of donated soups and desserts served to guests as they sat by crackling fires. Afterward, they enjoyed horse sleigh rides and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The party has grown so much over the years that Barbara Frodsham, 82, owner of the farm with her husband, Frank, had been rising at 4 a.m. for the past couple weeks preparing for the big day.

However, the event didn't have such a grandiose beginning.

Twenty-two years ago, one of Frodsham's friends was going through a divorce and struggling with depression, so the two decided to pick up some homeless folks in the area and bring them to the farm for a Christmas Eve program.

The Frodsham family had so much fun, they continued the activity each year, eventually moving it to the Saturday before Christmas and helping out hundreds of families in need each year.

"The community won't let us stop because we have so many volunteers who come out and help us," Frodsham said.

The family received several horse trailers full of donated gifts from Stewart Elementary School in Centerville, 500 homemade quilts, thousands of both new and gently used toys, and too many donated clothing items to count.

Just trying to pinpoint how many items were donated and how many people contributed to the Christmas event was too boggling for Frodsham.

She became teary just thinking about it. "This event touches your heart so much that you are never the same after you've come the first time.

"So many people come here as guests and then come back to help because they are so overcome by the experience and want to give back."

Her oldest son, Brett Frodsham, who has been helping with the event all along, said they have seen countless miracles in their lives, which he attributes to their hosting the event.

The best part, he said, is listening to the conversation among the kids.

"I've heard them say this is the best party they've been to because no one can tell the difference between anyone. It's nice they get to blend in for the day."

For one mother, Mercedes Young, of Layton, and her three kids, the experience brought hope into their Christmas. Young was impressed with the quality of all of the donations.

"We found a lot of things for us to take home, especially the shoes and clothes," she said. "My 7-year-old son was especially excited about the toys. For me, though, seeing their excited faces makes me so excited."

The experience wouldn't have happened without the community support from numerous church organizations, schools and dozens of neighbors who come out every Christmas to support the event, said Brett Frodsham. "It's a chance to share the joy, but really though, it's the community that needs to be thanked. We simply host it."

Stewart Elementary Principal Vonzaa Hewitt was helping her student council officers serve the donated soups and said students spent numerous recesses making hats using looms.

"I don't think you can be here at this event without being overwhelmed with the spirit of Christmas and giving," she said.

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