WITH more than eight million shoeboxes donated to children around the globe as part of Operation Christmas Child each year, the chance of tracing individual boxes is slight.
But when the charity’s regional manager, Jane Simmonds, found a photo of a Liberian boy holding a box saying ‘Love From Jed’, she vowed to trace the sender.
“I knew the boxes that went to Liberia had come from the Chesterfield warehouse, so there was a good chance the sender lived in Chesterfield,” said Jane, who first encountered the photo in February this year.
“I often do talks on Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child, and at each one I mentioned Jed hoping someone in the audience might be able to help me trace him.”
But when she sent out an email looking for recruits for a charity walk, she got a response from an Operation Christmas Child volunteer - Debbs Frazer, that brought her search to an end.
“I emailed back to say I couldn’t attend because the children were busy,” said Debbs, who lives with her four children and husband in Newbold. “I don’t know why I didn’t leave it at that, but I went on to give further reasons, including that Jed had swimming.”
Jane immediately contacted Debbs to find out if her son, seven-year-old Jed Frazer, had sent the box - and he had.
She said: “I couldn’t believe I had found him after so many months. It was incredible really when you consider how many million boxes are sent each year, and it was lovely that it was the son of a volunteer.”
Debbs added: “Jed was really thrilled when he saw the photo of the boy in Liberia.
“It’s really nice to be able to see a child receiving it and how happy they are.”
The family are now trying to find out more information about the young Liberian boy who received Jed’s gift.