Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Deliver Free Meals in L.A. While 'Dressed Down' in Jeans and Masks
"Meghan said she wanted to show Harry Los Angeles through the eyes of philanthropy," Richard Ayoub, Project Angel Food’s executive director, tells PEOPLE
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped out in L.A. on Wednesday to help their new community during the coronavirus crisis.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who moved from Canada to L.A. last month with their son Archie, helped distribute meals for Project Angel Food, a non-profit charity that cooks, prepares and delivers meals to people living with critical illnesses who are at greater risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, PEOPLE confirms.
“They actually did two deliveries for us — one on Easter Sunday and one on Wednesday — and they’ve done it quietly,” Richard Ayoub, Project Angel Food’s executive director, tells PEOPLE. “We’re completely honored.”
“They were extremely down to earth and genuinely interested in every single person they met,” Ayoub continues. “They engaged with our chefs, they engaged with clients — they just wanted to make sure that people felt the love and appreciation. Their goal was really to just honor our chefs and staffs and volunteers by being of service.”
“What Meghan said is she wanted to show Harry Los Angeles through the eyes of philanthropy. It’s just beautiful,” he adds. “There’s obviously a great deal of love and selflessness between them. They both are individuals who want to know about others. Our clients are clients who are often forgotten. They really wanted to go visit these people. They wanted to see them and talk to them and hopefully put a smile on their faces.”
Ayoub says Meghan knew about Project Angel Food from when she previously lived in L.A. and wanted to help. The non-profit has over 400 people on their waiting list amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Information on how to donate can be found here.)
“She said she wanted to do something to give back on Easter and was talking to her mom [Doria Ragland] and her mom told her that Project Angel Food needs help and Meghan said, ‘Yes, brilliant.’ ”
“They really wanted to ease the workload of our drivers because they deliver to between 50 and 60 people a day,” he adds. “Meghan and Harry took about six deliveries last Sunday and then they said, ‘We want to do it again and we want more,’ so they took 14 deliveries on Wednesday.”
Before they set out on their delivery route, Meghan and Harry paid a visit to the Project Angel Food facility.
“I gave them a tour of the facility,” Ayoub says. “They asked a lot of questions about the clients, about how the food is done and how much food is made. We talked about how the meals are medically-tailored and geared towards each client, they met with our chefs and then we gave them all our social distancing protocols for the deliveries and they wore gloves and makes and they kept six feet away.”
One of the recipients of Harry and Meghan’s deliveries was Dan Tyrell, who admits he didn’t recognize the couple at first when he went to greet them at the gate of his apartment building in West Hollywood.
“I thought that tall red-headed guy looked pretty familiar, and that girl was very pretty. Then I saw the large black SUVs with the security guards behind them,” Tyrell told WEHOville.com.
“They were both nice and very down-to-earth people,” he added. “They had masks on, and they were dressed down with jeans, but very nice jeans.”
In mid-March, Meghan, Harry and their 11-month-old son Archie moved from Vancouver Island in Canada to a secluded compound in Los Angeles — Meghan’s hometown — following their exit from royal life.
They are using their quiet time at home to find ways to support others, while admitting that self-isolation and social distancing is “a lot to take in.”
“Our emotional well-being is challenged every day whether we realise it or not, but our lives are usually filled with distractions,” they previously shared on their now-defunct Instagram. “Now with constantly changing COVID coverage, we are all adjusting to this new normal and the feelings that come with it.”
Over the coming weeks, Meghan and Harry said they were committed to sharing information and resources to help communities “navigate the uncertainty” over the coming weeks.
In addition to their volunteer work with Project Angel Food, Harry also made a special video call to the U.K. charity WellChild to bring awareness to families who are caring for seriously ill children during the pandemic.
During the candid chat, Harry revealed that he’s been focusing on “family time” during isolation.
“There’s a hell of a lot of positives that are happening at the same time and being able to have family time — so much family time — that you almost think, ‘Do I feel guilty for having so much family time?’ ” he said. “You’ve got to celebrate those moments where you are just on the floor rolling around in hysterics. Inevitably, half an hour later, maybe a day later, there’s going to be something that you have to deal with and there’s no way you can run away from it.”
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“It’s all about morale,” he added. “If morale is up, if you wake up in the morning and go, ‘Right, new day, got my whole family here, what are we going to do?’ Of course, there’s that fear of what might happen, but there’s so much that’s out of our control and all of the sudden we’ve realized how small we are in the grand scheme of things.”