START UP: CARE Ministries was founded in 1989 through a small start-up grant from Christian Blind Mission International (CBMI). CBMI started as an international medical mission to persons who are blind, but is now a broader organization with a mission as an international Christian development organization, committed to improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities in the poorest countries of the world. When fundraising in the United States, they received a number of contacts from Americans who were blind and needed some assistance with identifying helpful resources to assist them in areas as broad as finding a job to helping with their spiritual growth. To meet this need CBMI provided a small grand to start CARE Ministries.
EARLY SERVICES: CARE Ministries is a small organization that started as a vocational counseling, rehabilitation and social service organization, helping seekers find accessible Bible and Christian materials, but grew to have a large library of Christian materials and audio books on cassette tapes. CARE Ministries primarily focused on non-fiction books, including devotional materials, Bible studies, Christian Living books and stories of Great Christians to provide accessible discipleship materials. After its founder Ruth Berry Versaw passed away, CARE Ministries housed the Ruth Berry Versaw Library. This grew the CARE Ministries library to over 7,500 books on cassette tapes, and services focused primarily on the library.
THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION AND IMPACT: As cassettes phased out and digital books became more popular, CARE Ministries struggled with the conversion. Always operating on a fairly small budget, and small staff of volunteer and part time workers, CARE Ministries did not have the resources or expertise to convert its holdings. The Ruth Berry Versaw Library was transferred to Spoken Word Ministries, and CARE Ministries has worked on converting its almost 700 books and monthly publications to digital.
Currently CARE Ministries is serving about 250 persons who are blind or visually impaired, and about 240 persons who are DeafBlind through the Good Cheer Quarterly Magazine. Persons utilizing CARE Ministries resources are located in all 50 states and about 10 foreign countries.