Our history

It all started with a simple emergency relief package, delivered over seven decades ago.


The first CARE packages

CARE was set up in the USA in 1945 to respond to the devastation and scarcity brought on by World War 2. Originally, Americans paid $10 to send a ‘CARE package’ to someone in Europe. These packages contained food and essential supplies, like canned meats, powdered milk, coffee and chocolate.

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

We received a CARE package every few months, beautifully wrapped. Every time a package came, it was like Christmas. I still remember the excitement, as we had to wait until our father came home from work before we were allowed to open them.

Bernd Kadritzke, Germany


Global expansion

CARE has grown a lot since then, expanding our remit beyond immediate and short-term relief to more long-term assistance in the form of recovery and rehabilitation. Today, we are a global network of partners working in over 100 countries to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice.

But the spirit of human kindness, present in those first CARE packages all that time ago, remains at the heart of everything we do.

When we received this package from CARE I remember the excitement we felt – wow, a blanket and salt! That evening our mothers prepared the most delicious meal, and we ate more than we had ever eaten before. And that night we went to sleep covered in our blankets, and for the first time in three years we had a proper sleep."

Angelo Sakondo, South Sudan

Angelo Sakondo

Find out more about CARE's work