The First CARE Package

The First CARE Package

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More than a year after World War II concluded in Europe, the residents of Le Havre, France, continued to struggle for survival. Their homes remained leveled, their stomachs chronically empty.

On May 11, 1946, relief arrived from across the ocean as the cargo ship American Traveler steamed into the war-torn city’s harbor with a shipment of food—and hope. Aboard were 15,000 brown cardboard boxes paid for by the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE), which had been founded the previous year to bring humanitarian aid to millions starving in post-war Europe. These first “CARE Packages” contained everything from whole-milk powder and liver loaf to margarine and coffee. The contents of CARE Packages soon expanded to include soap, diapers, school supplies and medicine as well as fabric, thread and needles to allow recipients to make and mend clothes.

The initial CARE Packages consisted of surplus “10-in-1” food parcels—capable of providing one meal for 10 soldiers or food for one soldier for 10 days—no longer needed by the U.S. Army at the end of the war. Once the surplus was depleted, CARE began to assemble its own packages, thanks in large part to donations by American companies. At a cost of ten dollars, Americans could send the food donations to friends and families back in Europe. Soon, however, Americans began to donate provisions to those they didn’t even know—addressing boxes to “a hungry occupant of a thatched cottage” or “a school teacher in Germany.”

Renate Senter was one of those anonymous recipients of American generosity. Born in 1939, Senter knew nothing other than war while growing up in West Prussia. Then on a frigid winter night in 1945, a knock on the door warned that the Soviets were quickly advancing. With her father off fighting on the eastern front, the six-year-old girl fled to her grandparents’ home along with her mother, two sisters and only those meager possessions they could fit inside a baby carriage. “We had nothing, absolutely nothing,” Senter says.

A year after the war’s conclusion, Senter was a student at a school in West Germany, with a piece of chalk and a slate her only school supplies. One day, a Red Cross nurse arrived with CARE Packages for the students, and even though the moment occurred 70 years ago, the memories remain vivid in Senter’s mind. “It was maroon red with white ‘CARE’ letters on it. I opened it, and the first thing that hit me was this beautiful white paper that felt like silk, a pencil with an eraser, Colgate toothpaste and a toothbrush,” Senter says.

“I was so in awe and speechless at this white paper that I ran home with this package and said, ‘Look what the Americans did. The Americans sent this package,’” Senter says. For the next three years, she continued to receive CARE Packages from the United States filled with clothes and food. “It was so overwhelming that we received these packages. You have no idea how it changed our lives and outlook.”

Senter’s mother, who harbored no love for the United States after her parents were killed in an American air raid, cried when her daughter came home with her first CARE Package. “My mother changed her tune immediately. She was so grateful to America and would always write letters to CARE to thank them,” Senter says.

As the Cold War ignited, CARE Packages again came to the rescue. In response to the blockade of West Berlin by Soviet troops in 1948, the American airlift included 250,000 CARE Packages, more than half of all the humanitarian relief sent to the city. In 1950, President Harry Truman urged Americans to donate parcels of food, clothing and blankets to those left hungry and homeless in the wake of the Korean War. “Every CARE Package delivered to a family in Korea, in the name of American donors, is proof of democracy in action to help its fellow man,” Truman proclaimed.

The humanitarian organization expanded its geographic scope in the 1950s to include Asia and Latin America. Now known as the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere to reflect its worldwide mission, CARE remains one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations. In 2015, CARE worked in more than 90 countries combating poverty and responding to natural disasters and humanitarian emergencies from war-ravaged Syria to famine-riddled Somalia.

CARE has refocused its efforts from sending packages to developing long-term sustainable programs, but the impact of the 100 million CARE Packages sent from Americans to people in need around the world continues to resonate. Senter was so moved by the gift-filled boxes that she received as a child that she vowed to live in America when she grew up. In 1960, she fulfilled that wish and immigrated to the United States, where she still lives today. “I’m very grateful to CARE for turning my life around and so happy in this country,” she says.

Big Brother Recap: Who Got the First Care Package?

Sometimes, a little advantage is all you need in the Big Brother house to change things up, but does it come with a price?

Natalie won the first care package and it shocked the other houseguests.

You really can't blame them. She's not playing the game at all. She's won zero competitions and has previously made it clear that she's only in the house for a vacation.

Why sign up for Big Brother if you're not going to play the game?

Moreover, why would someone want to willing float on through the game?

It's clear she has fans, but they're probably only fans because of her relationship with James.

At the HOH competition, James seemed to be coaching her for the win and he didn't even seem quiet about it. Everyone else knew what he was doing.

They're flaunting their showmance and it almost resulted in Natalie winning the HOH. I shudder to imagine what crazy decisions she would make with some power.

Are they purposefully trying to stick out as targets? James seems to forget that he's played the game before.

Paul managed to hit the perfect shot first and secured his first HOH win of the summer. This meant that his alliance members were all safe.

He was also pretty vocal about his plan to take out Bridgette. The thing that's good about Paul is that once he has a plan, he wants to stick to it.

It's just a shame that his alliance members didn't want to. Paulie seems to be getting the other houseguests to do his dirty work and that's something that other houseguests will pick up on soon enough.

Paul needed one of his own to sit pretty with Bridgette on the block, but trying to get someone was super awkward.

The fairest way to do it would have been to put all the names in a hat and draw one out.

Nicole was silly to even entertain the idea of going on the block. No one should willingly volunteer. At this rate, she'll be out of the game by next week.

Paulie's decision to go on the block was a surprising one, but it showed his loyalty to Paul.

Da'vonne is the target, but she seems to think that Nicole could be the one to go.

Paul nominated Paulie and Bridgette for eviction.

The plan is for Paulie to win the veto and for Da'vonne to go up as the replacement nominee.

The Deployment Journey

Date of posting - Wednesday, 15th of June, 2016.
Date of arrival - Sunday, 26th of June, 2016.

  • 75 Awesome Military Care Package Ideas -
  • Military Care Package Ideas on Pinterest -
  • Army Strong Stories - Care package Guide for deployed soldiers -

When purchasing food items I had to considered what would be appropriate for the journey i.e. whether a bumpy ride would ruin it and question if it would melt in a car because realistically it's going to be very hot on it's journey and when it arrives. Ideally, foods are going to be difficult items to send over especially as it is summer in Iraq, whereas it's winter in Australia. If the item is likely to melt in a car then I decided I wouldn't send it to him. This was because I didn't want them to melt and ruin the other items in the care package.

Considering whether to send toiletries I decided to send just the basics as I've read that most stuff is available for them to purchase at the local store that apparently contains almost every essential you need to use in the bathroom. I know that my man likes certain brands that are Australian so I decided to send only a few items and if he wants other items then I'll send them at his request.

Image (above) - The box design

Image (above) - Desired set out of care package

Image (above) - Reality of how the care package is packed before sending

  • Mini M&Ms
  • Oreo cookie box - Strawberry flavour
  • Australian Flag (paper)
  • Pringles grab & go - Salt and vinegar flavour
  • Niva sensitive shaving cream (in a tube)
  • Hand written letters x2
  • Niva chap stick with SPF 15
  • Mentos - Mint flavour
  • Powerade Mountain blast powder
  • Moisturising facial cleansing wipes
  • Extra chewing gum - Peppermint flavour x 2
  • Maxx trunk underwear
  • Lined notebook
  • Ball point pen (with 4 colours)
  • Pocket pack of tissues
  • Protein FX Lo carb choc-coated protein bar x2
  • Chupa Chups lollipops (Cola and lemonade flavour) x2

Image (above) - Items in the care package

To All Australian family, friends and other individuals who are sending care packages to loved ones please know that ANY type of item being sent letter or box has FREE shipping as long as it is 2 kgs or under is weight! This was my first package I sent and was caught out. I decided to pay for it as it was a once off. It cost $16.30 to send my package which weight 2.47 kgs. So I hope this is helpful!

I'll be sure to include a review about whether my partner enjoyed the items that I sent in this care package and whether he has asked for any items to be sent in my next post! Until then thank you for reading.

About CARE's relief work in post-war Japan.

The establishment of headquarters in Yokohama

By 1947, with twelve European countries evidently on their way to recovery, CARE ended its aid to Europe and shifted its focus to Asia. Within the region, CARE stretched its hand out to Japan, the country most ravaged by the war. On 29 October 1947, it signed a basic cooperation agreement with the Japanese Government (under the Katayama administration).

CARE entered war-torn Japan for the first time the following year, in May 1948. Its headquarters were established at 4-63 Bentendou, Naka-ku, Yokohama and on 9 July 1948. It then formed an execution agreement with the Ministry of Economy and Industry, and began to work immediately.

The establishment of an office in Japan was CARE's first venture outside of Europe. Keeping its headquarters in Yokohama as its base, CARE extended the scope of its activities to deliver foodstuff and clothing to other ravaged areas such as Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The distribution of goods in Japan

How were the CARE packages delivered to the Japanese people?

First, the packages which arrived from the USA were unloaded at Yokohama harbour and stored in a temporary warehouse. Afterwards, they were sent as parcels and collected at post office counters. This method was devised by CARE to ensure that the goods were delivered both directly and safely to the needy.

The CARE packages delivered to Japan at that time were divided according to the age of the recipient into: "food packages for babies," "food packages for infants" and "standard food packages." Special attention was paid to details such as the inclusion of can-openers in canned food packages. Examples of standard foodstuff which were included in the packages were full-fat powdered milk, chocolate, raisins, flour, sugar, bacon, margarine, etc. The subsistence goods in the packages included soap, cotton cloths, shirts and blankets. On top of basic supplies things such as medical and carpentry goods, tools and materials for electric repairing and plastering, and seeds and agricultural tools were included as well.

Japan was provided not only with emergency food and clothing relief, but also vocational training and creation of a good working environment in which technicians could be employed. Through these methods CARE greatly helped the victims in Japan become economically independent. This course of action was the start of the "self-help and sustainable development" principle which CARE advances today.

People lining up at the post office counter
to collect their CARE Packages

Princess Takamatsunomiya handing out CARE Packages

The further development of CARE's support

In 1949, as part of a food-provision project aimed at Japanese schoolchildren, CARE supplied powdered skimmed milk for use in school lunches. This was a CARE food aid programme targeted at schoolchildren, and was set up in order to ensure that the growing children had a constant intake of powdered milk, their sole source of nutrition at the time.

Many charitable donations were received both monetary and otherwise, such as $1000 (US) worth of medical books for the National Diet Library. As well as other various books sent to education bodies such as the Meiji Institute University,Tsuda College, and other public agencies. Subsequently, starting with the inclusion of children's books in the list of general commodities, books became readily available to the public.

CARE's aid to Japan spanned over eight years, and came to an end on 30 December 1955, when Japan began to show signs of recovery.

Aid in Small Boxes

One day during the two-year, post-World War II captivity of Klaus Pütter, a German POW-soldier in a French hospital, a plain, brown, 22-pound cardboard box arrived—a gift from Care (an acronym for Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe), containing about 40,000 calories from Germany’s recent enemy, the United States.

It held corned beef, bacon, liver loaf, margarine, lard, apricot preserves, honey, raisins, chocolate, sugar, egg powder, milk powder, coffee, flour and soap.

"Even though hunger and desperation were with us, our first reaction was, ‘What’s the snag? What do the Americans want to do to us now?’" Pütter says.

Never getting enough to eat—daily, only a piece of bread, cheese, cabbage soup and tea ("Never enough, believe me," Pütter says)—the German prisoners nevertheless debated three days about what to do with the box.

Finally, the German Army chaplain concluded, "Americans are different. They help people in need, regardless of who and where they are."

Celebrating CARE’s 50th anniversary in 1996, the organization presented the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History with a 1962 cardboard CARE package. It contains boxes of macaroni, cornmeal, instant chocolate-flavored drink mix and nonfat dried milk.

CARE, one of the largest nonsectarian, nongovernment organizations in the world working in international development and relief, started an emergency food relief program in 1946, just after the end of World War II. During the Berlin Airlift beginning in 1948, Americans purchased and sent $10 packages containing food, clothing and medicine to West Berlin in one of the largest person-to-person relief efforts in history.

Berliners looked to the sky for help after Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered a shutdown of ground traffic to and from their city of a couple of million residents. From 1946 to 1949, CARE delivered more than 658,000 packages there, including 200,000 during the airlift.

The first packages’ contents came from surplus Army rations, which the United States had stored for the invasion of Japan. When Europeans depleted those rations, CARE began sending packages it designed for civilian families, containing more meats and more fats. Criticism soon followed.

The French groused that the contents did not lend themselves to the French cuisine. The Irish insisted on a substitute for the meat products. The British wanted fruit juices and extra fats instead of flour, which was not in short supply.

So CARE began customizing. People could then send Asian packages (with beans, miso and soybean oil), kosher (food sanctioned by Jewish law), and Italian and Greek (with spaghetti and assorted spices). Baby and infant packages were available, as was even a holiday package with a turkey in a can. CARE developed an enviable reputation for reputable delivery. Methods have included reindeer in Finland, camels in Pakistan and elephants in Sri Lanka, as well as more orthodox vehicles.

In the late 1940s CARE introduced packages with tool kits and sewing machines to help people earn incomes and become self-sufficient. In the 1950s CARE sent farm tools to Europe and Asia. It also sent medical equipment and books to many developing countries. In 1966 CARE began phasing out its by then famous packages, although it revives the tradition sometimes, as it did in Bosnia in the 1990s.

In the 1970s CARE helped communities build wells and improve sanitation. In the 1980s it launched primary health care programs, such as oral rehydration therapy for diarrhea victims. Beginning in 1990, CARE has provided family planning services in almost 300 clinics.

Since 1998 CARE has provided shelter and repair materials, helped farmers restore their fields to productivity and assisted with mine awareness and removal programs in Kosovo. CARE managed eight refugee camps in Macedonia, housing 100,000 refugees. It has distributed 80,000 blankets, 40,000 mattresses, 11,000 plastic sheets, 1,000 stoves and 6,500 kitchen sets.

Most recently, CARE has changed its name to Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere and no longer draws only from its American roots. Nine other industrialized countries have founded CAREs under the confederation of CARE International, a global movement reaching 68 developing countries.

Criteria for determining CARE’s presence in countries include per capita gross national product, infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births, death rate of children between ages 1 and 4, life expectancy at birth, nutrition status of vulnerable groups, percentage of population with access to safe water, and literacy and unemployment rates. The term "CARE Package" is a registered trademark, and the organization frowns on its corporate use. However, CARE packages have become a cultural icon, a symbol of generosity worldwide, and a part of the American vernacular. College students receive "care packages" from home during exams, and children at camps dive into "care packages" of brownies their moms have sent.

A 1962 note accompanying the Smithsonian’s package sums it up well: "It is the hope of all Americans everywhere that our efforts of sharing our bountiful food supply will be an encouragement to free people all over the world."

First College Care Package of the Year

Homemade Treats

Of course, the most important thing to include in your first care package is homemade cookies. My daughter is already missing homemade treats. I made sure to send enough cookies that she can share with roommates and friends. And I sent her two favorite kinds of cookies so she knows how much she&rsquos loved. My secret to mailing cookies is to package them in a seal top bag and then pack them into a repurposed plastic salad box, the kind store-bought lettuce comes in. I like to decorate the top of the box to make the treat even more festive. I used craft paper and stickers on my daughter&rsquos package&hellip

&hellipand a more subdued paper on the package I sent to my friend&rsquos son.

My tried and true care package cookies are:

    &ndash You can make the icing in your baby&rsquos school colors simply by changing the color of the food coloring.

I also send brownies and bar cookies. I have an easy tutorial on how to package brownies for shipping. My favorite bar cookie recipes are:

Something from Each Family Member

Each family member wrote my baby a note and her siblings included some of my daughter&rsquos favorite candy.

Notes from Family and Friends

I&rsquod requested guests at my baby&rsquos graduation party write her cards, so I included a couple. I&rsquoll include more of these cards from her family and friends in future care packages. You can see how this graduation party idea works to collect cards for care packages.

(Ho&rsquoomaika&rsquoi means congratulations in Hawaiian.)

Mom Things

When I dropped my baby off at college she mentioned that she&rsquod forgotten envelopes and that she couldn&rsquot find her favorite moisturizer at her local store, so I included these. I had to add a bag of her favorite candy (yes, she has several &ldquofavorite&rdquo candies) just because I miss her.

The second day she was at college, I received a message nicely asking me to send her a bag she&rsquod forgotten to pack. It works perfectly as additional cushioning n the box.

Happy Memories

I made sure to include the container she&rsquod made with her younger brother this summer during one of our memory making activities. When she sees this container she&rsquoll remember the day we spent crafting and being together.

I&rsquove Been Listening to You Items

My daughter also mentioned that she wished she&rsquod brought more things to hang on the walls. We&rsquod made this easy art together this summer (tutorial to come soon), so I included it in her care package. It&rsquoll be simple to hang on the wall with poster fun tack.


I picked up several Priority Mail boxes a couple of weeks ago so I&rsquod be ready to put care packages together whenever I wanted. I like to use plastic shopping bags as packing material because

  • It&rsquos a great way to recycle
  • They&rsquore lightweight
  • My baby can use them as trash bags and save on buying trash bags.

Since I&rsquod pick extra boxes up, I thought I&rsquod go ahead and send my friend&rsquos son a care package at the same time. I&rsquod given him an IOU for 2 care packages as his graduation gift. In addition to cookies, I sent drink mix. Since it&rsquos a liquid, I put it in a seal top bag before I put it in the box.

I added some basic office supplies that any college student will need.

I added the practical mom items. (Sometimes I just can&rsquot help myself.)

I included a magnetic dry erase board and cute cool sunglasses magnets. Of course, I added treats, candy and a note.

I&rsquove updated my care package ideas for the first college care package of the year ideas after sending two of my babies off to college for a combined total of six years.

Now that this first college care package of the year is in the mail. I already have plans for my daughter&rsquos next college care package. What was your favorite care package item?

For more care package ideas:

I&rsquom a mom of 3, a veteran and military spouse. I&rsquove moved into 20+ homes all around the world. My passion is helping busy people make the space and time for what&rsquos really important to them.

The birth of the CARE Package

75 years ago this month, on 8 May 1945, the unconditional surrender of Germany was announced – marking the ending of the Second World War in Europe. After six exhausting and brutal years, weapons were finally dropped, and much of Europe and Germany was left in ruins.

The Berlin of 1945 is nearly impossible to imagine today. Cities like Mosul in Iraq come to mind, with buildings blown apart by years of bombing. Left, right and centre, every square metre of the city was covered in rubble.

Distant memories of war

The war in Germany by now lies 75 years in the past. Few grandmothers and grandfathers are left to recount their first-hand experiences of hunger, suffering and destruction. 12 million people from the eastern territories and settlements of the German Reich had become refugees. Almost five million homes had been destroyed or damaged. In Europe and Asia, at least 55 million people had lost their lives. No one in the German civilian population was spared the consequences of this war started by their own, elected leadership.

After the surrender, it seemed almost as if nature took its revenge on Germany: following the signing of the armistice, there came drought, famine and one of the coldest winters of the 20 th century. Temperatures were below minus 20 degrees Celsius between November 1946 and March 1947. Thousands of Germans starved and froze to death that winter.

The first CARE Packages

And then, out of nowhere, came an unexpected act of kindness – a ray of hope for a country responsible for years of suffering. It came from men and women of the United States. Despite the many American casualties in World War Two, American citizens didn’t want to turn a blind-eye to the painful suffering they had witnessed in Europe. A group of American welfare organisations banded together to form CARE International – and dedicated themselves to helping those in need by sending CARE Packages to Europe.

In the years that followed, more than 100 million CARE Packages were donated, packed and delivered to Europe. But this act of kindness was most astonishing for the fact it also included their former enemy: an astonishing 10 million CARE Packages were sent to Germany.

The Germans themselves could hardly grasp this incredible act of kindness. Ruth Andreas-Friedrich, a woman from Berlin, wrote in her diary on February 18, 1948: “How great and admirable are those who provide their fellow human beings, who are complete strangers to them, with these gifts?”

These selfless, incredible acts of kindness and compassion to complete strangers were a beautiful gesture of reconciliation and support for people who had been considered the enemy just a moment ago, and remains a shining example of humanity’s capacity to care for one another.

Unfortunately, history does tend to repeat itself. But it also provides us with the opportunity to repeat the good and kind things done by those before us. Let us not turn a blind eye to the misery and suffering of others. Let’s instead try to give that same ray of light that emerged out of nowhere into the darkness of 1945.

There’s a CARE package needed in so many parts of the world right now. And we are in a position to donate it.

Pre-Assembled Care Packages

Quarantine Package

Zoey's Attic Quarantine Gift Set

We love this care package for anyone with a sense of humor. If you know a parent who enjoys succulents and puns, this box has what they need (it comes with a real succulent!). It comes with different sizing options to also include things like a candle, matches, stemless wine cup, lip balm and a handmade soap and bath bomb. Keep in mind: Your succulent may arrive looking a little dry and sad, but that’s just from the shipping. Give it a little sun and water and it’ll look fresh and healthy in a couple days.

Spa Package

Lizush Gift Box

Spas are closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give a new parent a well-deserved spa day. Complete with bath essentials like natural soap, bath bomb, body oil, scented soy candle and more, this lavender-themed care package creates a welcome opportunity for relaxation and self-care. You can even personalize the box with a name! Keep in mind: The majority of items in this care package are scented with lavender, so be mindful of any allergies.

Chocolate Package

You're My Hero Care Package

We think parents are strong, brave, heroic people—especially during these difficult times—and this care package helps you tell the new parents in your life “You’re my hero.” With chocolate truffle bars and truffle candies, this package doesn’t just taste good, it also does good—five percent of profits are donated to Mary’s Place, an organization in Seattle, WA dedicated to helping women and families out of homelessness.

Comfort Food Package

Spoonful of Comfort New Parent Care Package

Is there honestly anything better than comfort food? In a time when new parents might not be getting the pre-made dinners they could usually expect from friends and family, Spoonful of Comfort is creating care packages that give exactly that in the form of delicious soup, dinner rolls and cookies. Choose from five kinds of soup (in a whopping 64 ounces) and four kinds of cookies. They also offer additional comfort items like socks, candles, books and, in case baby wants to join in, these sweet bibs.

Book Package

Changing Hands Customized Booklover Care Package

Thanks to Changing Hands, a small, independent bookstore in Arizona, there’s a care package especially for book-loving parents too! You can pick your own book to send, or make a magical moment by letting the booksellers create a surprise package—just pick what kind of reader you’re buying for and what genres they like. They’ll also include a few surprise (themed) gifts like a candle, a notebook, a pair of socks, generally comforting things to create a cozy, curl-up-with-your-new-book atmosphere.

Picnic Package

Wine Country Picnic The Classic Gift Basket

Snacks abound! This gift basket is perfect for creating a special picnic right in your own backyard (or living room, if you prefer to stay indoors). Gourmet options like cheese, fruit preserves, olives, English tea and more will have parents saying “yum!” before they even open the packages. (And the basket, by the way, will make great nursery storage when all the food is gone). Like a little wine with a picnic? We love this gift basket with a trio of California wines.

Coffee Package

Deluxe Coffee + Biscotti Tasting Box

Some new parents swear by coffee as their secret to making it through the long nights with a newborn. The coffee connoisseurs at Bean Box are really good at finding unique flavors from small brands, and we’re willing to bet that there are some flavors here that the coffee-loving parent in your life hasn’t tried (yet). Choose whole bean or freshly ground for eight gourmet coffees, and paired with eight handmade biscotti cookies, this package will make any new parent’s caffeine habit feel truly cared for.

Tea Package

Tea Relief Collection

If you want a drink that really cares for someone’s soul, go for the tea. Sips by offers a wide variety of teas in one comforting little package—all you have to do is put on the kettle. Choose from caffeinated, caffeine-free or a mix as well as all loose leaf or a mix of loose leaf and bagged teas. The best part about this care package: it’s enough to make 50 cups.

Baking Package

Red Velvet Baking Kits

For a lot of people, baking is a comforting, therapeutic activity (especially given the sweet little reward at the end). Red Velvet is well-loved for their baking kit subscription, but for a one-off gift, their store has a lot of delicious and varied options, like matcha swirl cookies, gluten-free flourless chocolate cake and coconut macaroons. Each kit comes with most of the necessary ingredients the baking tools will need to come from their own pantry (as well as eggs, if the recipe calls for them).

The pandemic care package: putting customers first

All companies want to find ways of turning their abstract values into concrete corporate actions. For one major bank, they knew that they wanted to place caring for customers at the heart of their organisational mission. As the ongoing pandemic posed problems for some of their most vulnerable customers, the power of storytelling was used to illustrate how they could go beyond, and build a business based on care.

Boldly going beyond

To do so, the bank acknowledged two aspects of their customers’ realities. First: that COVID-19 restrictions were making life particularly difficult for the elderly, who were less likely than their younger clientele to have access to online or mobile banking services. Second: that such customers were also more likely to suffer from a lack of access to immediate support networks – which might have devastating consequences.

Insistent that not a single client should sink without support, they quickly chose to launch an empathy-driven, highly-personal ‘Reaching Out’ service, which would see dedicated staff commit to contacting, connecting with, and caring for any customers found to be struggling – in any way.

The calls commenced, and staff soon found that their offers of support were as timely as they were well-intentioned. A few calls in, one staff member spoke to a surprised, but deeply thankful eighty-year old client. In the last day, he said, voice troubled and weary, he’d been unable to get out to the only open local shop. There was no obvious source of assistance, living alone. When asked if he had enough in the house to see out the weekend, he admitted that he perhaps had enough to last the rest of the day.

Taking immediate initiative, the caller sprang into action. Within ten minutes, three different charities had been called, and the elderly gentleman’s situation explained. Within another ten minutes, Age UK had reached out to him, promising him personal food deliveries not just that day, but throughout the pandemic – and beyond. By the time the sun had set, the gentleman again had full cupboards, a full fridge – and no small amount of gratitude.

Putting customers first

The elderly gentleman called wasn’t the only at-risk customer assisted by the ‘Reaching Out’ programme, but he was one of the most in-need. Though the initiative required extra resource and a number of keen staff willing to add to their weekly workloads, all employees agreed: this was what fostering a culture based on care looked like to them. For a company seeking to share obvious examples of its social impact, the ‘Reaching Out’ initiative also offered an outstanding one: customers put first, cared for – and secured against the pandemic’s deepest disruptions.


According to Kroon’s model (Uys 2005:6) and basic management functions include planning, organisation, leading and control. Smit & Cronjè (2002:8) maintain that the management process basically comprises planning, organisation, leading and control. In addition, the four management functions of decision-making, communication, motivation and disciplining are the means by which the organisational goals can be achieved. Without proper planning, organising, leading and control, the goals will not be achieved. A well-planned, organised, managed and controlled service could nevertheless still fail due to factors like poor communication and lack of staff motivation.

Planning as a concept

Planning is the first of the four basic management functions. The management level determines the types of goals, objectives and plans that should be developed (Kroon & van Zyl 1995:111 Huber 2000:82). Middle and first-line managers are responsible for tactical and operational planning, while top management is mainly concerned with strategic planning and the strategic plan (Kroon & van Zyl 1995:112). Strategic planning is costly and the commitment of top management is essential to achieve success (du Preez 1998:4 Uys 2005:39). It entails consideration of the organisation’s vision and mission as well as strategies, policies, goals and objectives (Uys 2005:39 Steven 1995:70). The clinic manager has to plan the activities that should take place in a clinic. When planning, the clinic manager should consider the DOH’s goals and objectives. These goals and objectives should guide all the activities that should take place in the clinic.

The role of the past, present and future in the planning process

Planning cannot ignore change and by means of planning, management tries to be proactive. Planning should be a feasible process and regular revision of plans is necessary to prevent planning from becoming static (Kroon & van Zyl 1995:114). In the health sector changes are constantly taking place. To keep track of all the changes, planning has to take place as the need arises (du Preez 1998:4). Prior to the implementation of the antiretroviral treatment (ART) programme, planning had to be done on a strategic as well as implementation level to estimate the sustainability of the programme.

The process of organising

Organising deals with the grouping of activities to maintain functional divisions and subdivisions in order to achieve the organisational goals (Smit & Cronjè 2002:193). Examples of this are the creation of posts within these divisions as well as determination of duties, authority and responsibility. An organisational structure is established which provides a structural framework (organogram) of the organisation’s activities, its main and subdivisions, lines of authority, channels of responsibility as well as communication and different management levels (Kroon 1995b:10 Smit & Cronjè 2002:190).

Definition of leading

Kroon (1995b:10) describes leading as “the process of influencing people to such an extent that they will excitedly contribute to work activities in order to achieve the goals of the institution”. D’Aunno, Fottler and O’Connor (2000:65) maintain that it is the primary task of management to motivate people to perform at high levels to achieve organisational objectives. Leadership is crucial to the nursing profession because of tumultuous changes in health care and the demand on nurses to improve care delivery (Donnelly 2003:22).

Table of contents :

  • CHAPTER 1 – Orientation to the study
      • 1.9.1 Primary health care
      • 1.9.2 Primary health care package
      • 1.9.3 Kroon’s management model
      • 1.9.4 Systems approach
      • 1.9.5 The four basic management functions
      • 2.1 INTRODUCTION
        • 2.3.1 The macro-environment
        • 2.3.2 The market or task environment
        • 2.3.3 Job description of a clinic manager
          • Definition of a job description
          • Role clarification of a clinic manager
          • Business functions
          • Business economics management
          • 2.4.1 Planning
          • 2.9.1 Business capabilities as structural input
          • 2.9.2 Interest groups
          • 2.9.3 Business functions
          • 2.9.4 Interdependency of processes, business functions, the management process and additional management functions
          • 3.1 INTRODUCTION
            • 3.3.1 Definition and clarification of the District Health System
            • 3.3.2 Characteristics of the District Health System
            • 3.3.3 Reasons for developing a District Health System
            • 3.3.4 Aims of restructuring the health sector
            • 3.3.5 Principles of the District Health System
            • 3.3.6 Effects of implementing the District Health System
              • Positive effects
              • Negative effects
              • Evaluation of the District Health System
              • 3.4.1 Definition of primary health care
              • 3.4.2 Basic components of primary health care
              • 3.4.3 Primary health care as a concept
              • 3.4.4 The functioning of a clinic manager
              • 3.4.5 Clinic managers’ workload
              • 3.4.6 Inadequate management training
              • 3.4.7 Lack of resources
              • 4.1 INTRODUCTION
              • 4.2 RESEARCH DESIGN
                • 4.2.1 Quantitative
                • 4.2.2 Exploratory
                • 4.2.3 Descriptive
                • 4.2.4 Contextual
                • 4.3.1 Sampling
                • 4.3.2 Sampling method
                • 4.3.3 Inclusion criteria


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