"Their generosity will allow us to provide even more children with the necessities they deserve," said Baby2Baby's co-presidents

By Stephanie Petit and Karen Mizoguchi
April 08, 2019 01:34 PM
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Meghan Markle may be thousands of miles away, but she hasn’t forgotten her California roots.

Last week, Meghan and Prince Harry thanked fans via their new Instagram page for the virtual “baby shower” encouraging charitable donations to celebrate the upcoming royal baby. They also gave four suggestions on charities if people are still looking to participate, including Los Angeles-based organization Baby2Baby, which provides young children living in poverty with diapers, clothing and other basic necessities.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex dedicated an Instagram post for each of the four charities, featuring Baby2Baby on Sunday.

“As a native of Los Angeles, The Duchess of Sussex wanted to include a locally based charity from her hometown that helps children and parents in need,” reads the caption, accompanying six photos highlighting the organization’s work. “Baby2Baby provides children ages 0-12 living in poverty with the necessities every child deserves. In the last seven years, B2B has distributed over 50 million items to children in homeless shelters, domestic violence programs, foster care, hospitals, underserved schools, and to children who have lost everything in the wake of disasters. Please consider supporting this very special organization.”

“Baby2Baby is honored to have been chosen by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex as the US charity to make donations to in lieu of gifts for the royal baby,” the organization said in a statement to PEOPLE.

“We are incredibly grateful to have been highlighted by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in honor of their first baby,” shared Baby2Baby Co-Presidents Norah Weinstein and Kelly Sawyer Patricof. “Their generosity will allow us to provide even more children with the necessities they deserve, in the Duchess’s hometown of Los Angeles and across the country.”

A rep adds, “The response has been overwhelming and has been more than just the actual donations, but also more people wanting to get involved, awareness of our mission, increased traffic to our website and social media followers.”

The organization has a number of celebrity supporters, including board members Julie Bowen, Jessica Alba, Nicole Richie and Rachel Zoe as well as Giving Tree Award recipients Kate Hudson and Drew Barrymore.

Nicole Richie at 2018 Baby2Baby event
| Credit: Michael Simon/StarTraks
Jessica Alba at Baby2Baby event
| Credit: The Honest Company/baby2baby

Meghan and Harry also encouraged donations to The Lunchbox Fund, Little Village, and WellChild – all organizations focused on the well-being of children.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at WellChild Awards 2018
| Credit: Victoria Jones/WPA Pool/Getty

#GlobalSussexBabyShower – started by Twitter user @freepeeper – began trending among supporters of the couple last weekend. The first charities picked for donations included Camfed, the Mayhew and WellChild. But it widened as others gave to organizations like Sentebale, Harry’s charity for young people in Lesotho and parts of Southern Africa, and One25, which the couple visited in Bristol in February.

Meghan Markle visits Mayhew
| Credit: Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty

At the animal shelter Mayhew, which is among Meghan’s patronages announced in January, they are “all absolutely flabbergasted” by the influx of donations, says CEO Caroline Yates.

“It was such an incredible thing to come in and see on a Monday morning,” she said. “We’re so, so grateful to everyone who has shared the original post and donated to Mayhew, and are trying to thank everyone as quickly as possible!”

A One25 spokesperson tells PEOPLE, “We’re delighted to receive gifts as a result of the #GlobalSussexBabyShower campaign. This generous wave of support will help women on the streets know that they are loved and give them the practical things they need like socks and gloves to keep warm and an umbrella to stay dry in the rain. Huge thanks to everyone for getting involved!”