In 1945, Americans began sending CARE (Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe) to a Europe devastated by war. In some cases, the CARE package was all that stood between starvation and survival. The CARE packages contained everything from rice and corned beef, to blankets and coffee. In June 1946 Americans were finally allowed to send CARE packages to Germany. Eventually, more than 82,000 tons of food were distributed to people in West Germany via CARE packages until the program was discontinued in 1962. During the Berlin Airlift, CARE packages represented more than 60% of all private aid to the city.
My friend Gunter Nitsch, a writer in Chicago, received CARE packages from an American family during a time of great need. He was interviewed about his childhood experience by National Public Radio:
You can read about the CARE program today and how Gunter Nitsch is "paying forward" today the generosity that his family experienced just after the war.