Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Make Rare Public Outing at Drive-Through Charity Event — in Masks!
Although the couple relocated to Santa Barbara, they headed back to L.A. to distribute school supplies to those in need
Although the couple relocated to Santa Barbara last month, they headed back to Los Angeles on Wednesday to take part in a drive-through event with Baby2Baby, an L.A.-based national nonprofit organization. They helped distribute school supplies, books, backpacks, clothing, food, hygiene items and more to those in need as children prepare for the new school year.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex sported masks — a blue and white striped covering for Meghan and an olive green mask for Harry — and gloves as they surprised recipients in their cars. At one point, Meghan knelt down to help fit a backpack for a young boy as Prince Harry squatted down to take a look.
For the outing, Meghan wore a white blouse with olive green shorts while Harry sported a white polo, shorts and a casual baseball cap.
This isn't the first time Meghan and Prince Harry have supported the L.A.-based organization. In April 2019, just before they welcomed son Archie, they thanked fans via their Instagram page for the virtual "baby shower" encouraging charitable donations to celebrate Baby Sussex. They also gave four suggestions on charities if people were still looking to participate, including Baby2Baby.
Founders and co-presidents Norah Weinstein and Kelly Sawyer Patricof had no idea that they were on the royals’ radar — they found out like the rest of the world when the Instagram post was shared.
"We were thrilled and overwhelmed at the support," Weinstein told PEOPLE. "We believe that the fact that the Duchess is from Los Angeles was what prompted her to highlight L.A., where Baby2Baby is based. We felt particularly grateful that she was highlighting an American organization."
Sawyer Patricof added they began seeing a new donor base – and from all over the map.
"Our donors are generally mostly in the U.S., so to have people from Guadalajara to Italy donating to Baby2Baby has been really exciting," she said. "Not only have we received the monetary donations but also so many of the basic essentials that we distribute have been growing – cribs, diapers, toothbrushes, baby blankets, pajamas, all sorts of product donations of the basic essentials that we provide to children in need."
Meghan, 39, and Prince Harry, 35, have participated in a number of charitable endeavors around their new community since moving to the U.S. in March. On several occasions, including Easter, they distributed meals to people living with critical illness through 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.
"What Meghan said is she wanted to show Harry Los Angeles through the eyes of philanthropy. It’s just beautiful,” Project Angel Food’s executive director Richard Ayoub told PEOPLE at the time. “There’s obviously a great deal of love and selflessness between them."
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In June, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited Homeboy Industries, a community social justice organization working to improve the lives of formerly incarcerated and previously gang-involved people in L.A. During the visit, they joined the group's participants ("Homies") working in the café and bakery. Together they prepared food for the #FeedHOPE program, which employs Homeboy participants to provide meals to food-insecure seniors and youth across L.A. amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were just 'Harry and Meghan' to the homies," said Father Greg Boyle, the group's founder. "They rolled up their sleeves and deeply engaged with our workers in the bakery and café. It was immediate kinship and heartening in its mutuality.”