75 years of CARE

The CARE package instinct

Reaction to the COVID-19 crisis shows us that the will to help others is as strong today as it was 75 years ago.

"An act of kindness can last a lifetime"

Once a CARE package recipient, Ruth is now raising funds for CARE's coronavirus response.


75 Years of CARE

It all started with small acts of kindness

CARE was set up in the USA in 1945 under the name Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe to respond to the devastation and scarcity World War 2 had wrought. Originally, Americans paid $10 to send a ‘CARE package’, containing food and supplies, to someone in Europe.

These small acts of kindness were an early form of international aid – delivered not just by governments but by people in one country to people in need across the world. For families who received a CARE package it represented ‘goodwill’ and a message of hope, delivered from someone far away who had a simple human desire to help them.

CARE has grown a lot in 75 years – now working in 100 countries to find long-term solutions to poverty and to support women and girls to overcome inequality – but the spirit of human kindness, present in those first CARE packages all that time ago, remains at the heart of everything we do.

Tell us your story about the kindness of a stranger

To mark CARE’s 75th year we want to share stories that celebrate the power of the kindness of strangers and inspire people to take action today. So if you have a story of how a stranger’s act of kindness, no matter how big or small, has left a mark on your life please get in touch. Email Hannah Richards: Richards@careinternational.org

The CARE package instinct

CEO Laurie Lee on how our instinct to help each other remains undiminished through 75 years of the CARE package.

The story of aid in a CARE package

Learn about the many ways international aid has evolved with a look inside CARE packages from 1945 to today.

Memories of CARE packages

From tales of tinned sausages to unlikely marriage proposals, read moving stories from people who remember receiving CARE packages after World War 2.

"An act of kindness can last a lifetime"

Ruth received CARE packages in the aftermath of WW2, today she is raising funds for CARE by selling tomato plants and flowers from her garden.

Love story: Leo, Helga and a CARE package

A heart-warming animation telling the true story of how a CARE package helped love triumph over enmity.

Support CARE's life-saving work

COVID-19 is perhaps the biggest challenge the world has faced since WW2. We need your help to protect vulnerable communities and save lives.

About CARE

Founded in 1945 to send 'CARE packages' to people recovering from war, we have been fighting poverty in the world’s poorest countries for 75 years.

CARE's impact

We work in 104 countries around the world, saving lives in emergencies and finding long-term solutions to poverty for millions of people every year.

Our aims

We empower women and girls to fulfil their potential – because when one woman is helped out of poverty, she brings her family and community with her.

Your support

Your support is what makes our poverty-fighting work possible. You can trust us to spend our funds wisely and effectively to help people in need.