FARMINGTON — For Farmington’s homeless, a clean, well-lit room, cheerful company and a hot breakfast was a Christmas miracle.
Nearly 30 volunteers from Cross Roads Community Church, the Salvation Army and the community gathered at the Frontline Mission to serve eggs, pancakes and hot cocoa to area homeless.
“For me, Christmas today ... I want to thank the Lord that they’re providing a meal,” said Sterling Yazzie. “Every day life is a struggle for us homeless people.”
Yazzie sat at one of the mission’s long tables sipping on hot cocoa with his acquaintance, Ernest Begay, Jr.
The two warmed their hands on the white foam cups. Their plates were sticky with syrup and the crumbled remnants of pancakes.
“I wish everybody the very best into the New Year and a Merry Christmas to everyone out there,” Begay said. “The people that are homeless, they fight every day. Life is a test.”
For some, the food was incidental. Being able to spend Christmas morning in a warm room with companionship was a welcome change.
“All these guys are my family,” said Karn Emerson. “It feels really good. I just thank God that he has a place for us every day even though people put us down. It makes us stronger.”
On Christmas morning, homeless people dotted Main Street and Broadway Avenue, which were mostly abandoned. They wandered Farmington’s icy streets.
Cross Roads Community Church members went out into the early morning chill to search for those in need.
“We want to make a Merry Christmas for a few people,” said Tommy Brewer as he stood above two griddles flipping pancakes.
He emptied out a griddle and refilled it with more batter. His red and green elf cap perched delicately on top of his head.
“That’s what Christmas is all about,” he said.
This is the first year that Cross Roads Community Church has organized a Christmas morning breakfast. Robert David, a church member, was inspired to organize the breakfast after reading “Crazy Love,” by Francis Chan.
“This was one of the projects that touched my heart,” David said. “Our son’s no longer at home and we decided it was time to give back.”
He approached the men’s group at his church about organizing a Christmas breakfast at the Frontline Mission, which was founded by Everett Griffith at First Indian Baptist Church, 501 W. Broadway St., in 1993. It closed in 1995 because of a lack of funding and reopened at its present location, 129 N. Behrend Ave., in 1998. The building has been used to feed Farmington’s homeless ever since.
David decided to open the project to the Cross Roads Community Church congregation. Help came pouring in, he said.
“We have more people coming in to help than are coming in to eat at the moment,” David said.
About 30 volunteers showed up at about 7 a.m. to begin cooking and setting up.
“I’m ready to do this again for next year,” said Jerry Stickler.
For a few of the patrons, the simple breakfast provided far more than a place to spend the morning, some warmth or a spiritual boost.
“I came here for breakfast and I didn’t expect something like this,” said Matilda Allen.
Tears streamed down her face and her eyes twinkled under the brim of her brown baseball cap.
She sat at the table in donated clothes — a mocha-brown leather jacket and a polka dotted scarf with round tassel ends, and sipped slowly on a fresh cup of orange juice.
“I’m just so grateful. I sleep in my car because my house got flooded out and someone stole all of my Christmas presents out from my car. I was just bummed out,” she said. “It touched me.”