CARE Package

The extraordinary story of an ordinary box

Seventy years after World War II, the CARE Package has evolved and today powers change in new, lasting ways for the people who need it most. 

The history of the CARE Package

"Every CARE Package is a personal contribution to the world peace our nation seeks. It expresses America's concern and friendship in a language all peoples understand." – President John F. Kennedy, 1962

What was in the first CARE Packages?

Learn more about our history and what exactly was in the very first CARE Package®.

The original CARE Package®

CARE was founded in 1945, when 22 American organizations came together to rush lifesaving CARE Packages to survivors of World War II. Thousands of Americans, including President Harry S. Truman, contributed to the effort. On May 11, 1946, the first 15,000 packages reached the battered port of Le Havre, France. 

These early packages were U.S. Army surplus "10-in-1" food parcels intended to provide one meal for 10 soldiers during the planned invasion of Japan. We obtained them at the end of the war and began a service that let Americans send the packages to friends and families in Europe, where millions were in danger of starvation. Ten dollars bought a CARE Package and guaranteed that its addressee would receive it within four months.


A New Kind of CARE Package

Give a Gift of Lasting Change and help families in developing countries lift themselves and their communities out of poverty.

Harry Truman Sends CARE Packages to Hungry in Europe

Finding Love in CARE Packages

Check out Leo & Helga's story of love, war and CARE Packages.