CARE Celebrates 70 Years of Transforming Lives, Communities

CARE Celebrates 70 Years of Transforming Lives, Communities

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ATLANTA (Nov. 19, 2015) — The global poverty-fighting organization CARE turns 70 this month and is celebrating through the release of an animated video, public exhibits and other activities around the world. From the U.S. to the U.K., Austria to Australia, compelling stories and events will recount CARE’s history, many of them centering on the original CARE Package, which CARE created to deliver life-saving food and supplies to families in Europe after World War II. 

A new CARE video narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Matt Dillon tells the extraordinary story of that ordinary box. The two-minute animation introduces the viewer to the first CARE Package, then reveals CARE’s 70-year evolution into a leading humanitarian organization powering change through tools that, while they don’t fit into a box, cut at the roots of poverty. “Its colors are different. Its mission has grown,” the new Power of a Box video concludes. “But it’s the same CARE Package — the simple box that gives us all the power to change the world.”

At London’s Oxo tower, a recent then-and-now exhibit featured historic CARE Package photos and moving stories from those who sent and received CARE Packages decades ago. Other activities include an online campaign and gallery walk in Germany, social media promotions in Japan and special publications in CARE offices worldwide. Many not only recognize CARE’s pioneering role in the relief of suffering worldwide but also highlight CARE’s modern work, whether its improving maternal health in Asia and Latin America, supporting Village Savings and Loan Associations across 26 countries in Africa or responding to dozens of emergencies around the world.

“We’re proud of the impact CARE has had over seven decades,” said Michelle Nunn, CARE president and CEO. “Our birthday lets us celebrate that impact and reflect on the contributions of millions of people who came before us – contributions that make our work possible today. “CARE was born in response to the crisis of World War II and the generous impulse of ordinary Americans. Our tactics have changed since then, but we still help families recover from emergencies, even as we empower millions more who face the daily emergencies that come from living in extreme poverty.”

Officially founded on Nov. 27, 1945, CARE was an acronym for the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe. By repurposing surplus U.S. Army food packages, CARE offered an effective, innovative vehicle for generous Americans wishing to help their family and loved ones in Europe after the war. Thanks to high-profile endorsements — from the likes of President Harry Truman and actor Bob Hope — CARE quickly became a household name and an enduring symbol of American generosity.

CARE’s geographic reach soon expanded beyond a war-weary Europe into Asia, Latin America and eventually Africa. Re-engineered CARE Packages traveled by elephant in Ceylon (today’s Sri Lanka), reindeer sled in Finland, camel in Pakistan and rowboat in Greece. CARE’s official name changed accordingly, to the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere.

CARE’s approach to relieving suffering and restoring hope worldwide also evolved. Today, CARE delivers long-term solutions to poverty by empowering women and girls who bear the brunt of poverty but also hold the key to defeating it for themselves, their families and their communities.  Last year, CARE worked in 90 countries and reached more than 72 million people around the world.

“We’ll continue to change with a changing world,” said Nunn, “but the best way to honor our past will always be to extend our reach and impact in the future.”


Nicole Harris:, (404) 979-9503, Brian Feagans,, 404-979-9453.

The first CARE packages were U.S. army surplus food parcels. CARE obtained them at the end of World War II and began a service that let Americans send the packages to friends and families in Europe. Ten dollars bought a CARE package and guaranteed its addressee would receive it within four months.