"An act of kindness can last a lifetime"

Ruth Martin was one of the original recipients of a 'CARE package' after World War 2

Ruth Martin, 86, remembers receiving a CARE package in the aftermath of WW2.

In the approach to VE day she is raising funds for CARE by selling tomato plants and flowers from her garden, and collecting donations online. She says:

Seventy-five years ago, after WW2 ended, a kind family from America sent my family a series of 'CARE packages' containing food and other essentials, to help us through the post-war rationing period. I have never forgotten the feeling of knowing that someone cares, and the excitement of these packages arriving. In particular I remember the tinned sausages which were delicious, a real treat.

Ruth sees parallels between the sense of community and solidarity during that post-war era, and what we are seeing during the current COVID-19 crisis today. 

I see a lot of people doing caring things for people in their communities during the current coronavirus crisis, and it makes me happy to think that 75 years from now, these acts of kindness will be remembered as fondly as I remember our CARE packages. I hope this thought spurs people on to continue spreading kindness, because it really means a lot to those who receive it.

Ruth is selling her plants, tomatoes and other garden produce to her neighbours and those who pass by her home in Godalming.

I am raising funds for CARE so they can continue their wonderful tradition of providing CARE packages today. In particular during the current crisis they are helping the people who need it most to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus around the world. Those living in refugee camps, or in conflict zones, or trying to cope in the wake of natural disasters, for whom an outbreak of disease could be especially catastrophic.

Ruth sees her home-grown produce as a way to spread kindness, as well as a means for people to grow their own food at home.

It started out as tomato plants and vegetable seeds, I thought it would be nice if my produce gave people a means to feed themselves at this time. They were very popular, especially the tomato plants, which sold out! So I've added lots of other things now. People can take vegetables, seedlings or anything that would be useful for their own garden, in exchange for a donation. And for those far away, if they would like, they can make an online donation instead. An act of kindness can last a lifetime.

To donate to Ruth's fundraising page visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ruth-martin23

75 Years of CARE

Tell us your story about the kindness of a stranger

To mark CARE’s 75th year we want to share stories that celebrate the power of the kindness of strangers and inspire people to take action today. So if you have a story of how a stranger’s act of kindness, no matter how big or small, has left a mark on your life please get in touch. Email Hannah Richards: Richards@careinternational.org

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.