CARE packages were delivered after WWII. © CARE
An original CARE package. © CARE
The scope of our mission has changed considerably in the decades since we began operations but our core values have remained constant.
Founded in America in 1945 after World War II, CARE was first known as the ‘Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe’. In these early days, CARE sent food aid and basic supplies in the form of 'CARE packages' to war-torn Europe.
On May 11, 1946, the first 20,000 packages reached the port of Le Havre, France. Some 100 million more CARE packages reached people in need during the next two decades, first in Europe and later in Asia and other parts of the developing world.
As the economies of the former wartime nations developed and improved, the focus of CARE's work shifted from Europe to the problems of the developing world.
In the 1950s, CARE began using US surplus food to feed the hungry in developing countries. The following decade, CARE pioneered primary healthcare programs and, in the 1970s, responded to massive famines in Africa with both emergency relief and long-term agro-forestry projects.
Today, CARE International is a confederation composed of 12 national members - Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany- Luxembourg, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Thailand, the UK and the USA - forming one of the world's largest independent, international emergency relief and development assistance organisations. In 2011, CARE's activities benefitted 122 million people across 84 countries.
Visit the CARE International secretariat website
CARE Australia joined the CARE International family in 1987, led by former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.
Today, CARE Australia manages programs in over 22 countries.
Find out more about the places where we work
Find out more about the history of CARE Packages and how they have changed in the 65 years since they were first sent.