From the archive: CARE packages lead to marriage

Marta and Dayton in Germany, 1945

75 Years of CARE

World War 2 brought Marta and Dayton Edie together – but it was the CARE packages Dayton sent later that helped win Marta’s heart.

Marta was working as a bilingual telephone operator for the American occupation forces in Germany after the war. Dayton was a US army communications specialist and they met when he was setting up the switchboard system.

Her being an enemy, you know, we weren’t really even supposed to talk to each other ... but everybody turned their head because things were going so well.

After a few months, Dayton’s tour was up and he returned to the USA. But he had seen how little Marta and her mother had to eat. So while he was home, he sent CARE packages to them, including soap, flour, milk powder ... and coffee.

“It was like manna from heaven,” said Marta. “My mother and I, we had gotten this package with this coffee in it, and of course we hadn’t had any coffee for years, so we both couldn’t sleep all night...”

It’s hard to convey to somebody how hungry we were and what CARE meant. It just meant survival...

The army sent Mr Edie to Italy, where he spent four years courting Marta long-distance. They married in 1950 and moved to the USA.

Everybody, every time you heard CARE you thought of food, of help, and it has never left us, never left my husband either, because that was the one thing he could do.

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:

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