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.