Meghan Markle Makes Surprise Appearance to Honor 'Quiet Heroes' amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Meghan Markle made her first public appearance since she revealed that she suffered a miscarriage in a moving account written in the New York Times in November

Meghan Markle is celebrating those who gave back and continue to support others amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Duchess of Sussex made a surprise appearance on Sunday's CNN Heroes special and delivered remarks in a pre-taped segment, which marked her first public appearance since she revealed that she suffered a miscarriage in a moving account written in the New York Times in November.

"In a year that has been universally challenging for everyone, I'm inspired by the stories of compassion in our communities. Across the country, people have put their own needs aside to come together and support the collective well-being of those around them," said Meghan, who suffered a miscarriage in July.

"Back in March, the COVID-19 crisis hit hard, and overnight everything seemed to change. For many families, the impact of the pandemic has been catastrophic, and far too many were faced with the heartbreaking question: How am I going to put food on the table for my family? But in the face of this devastating reality, we also saw the power of the human spirit and the remarkable ways that communities respond in challenging times. We saw the good in people, in our neighbors and in entire communities coming together to say they would not stand by while our neighbors went hungry," she continued.

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"We saw communities standing up and taking action. When kids' lunch programs came to a halt, we saw our neighbors make sure that those children received the nutrition they need. And when those who are immunocompromised or most vulnerable couldn't leave their homes, we, as a community, showed up to deliver the food they needed to their doorsteps," Meghan said. "We know the value of food; as nourishment, as a life source, and in the moments of crisis, the warmth of a meal can feel as comforting as a much-needed hug -- especially in the absence of human contact due to the social distancing we're all experiencing."

"These moments reminded so many that they're cared for. Tonight, we are celebrating these quiet heroes, some of whom I know and others that we applaud from afar. These individuals stood up and made sure the most basic needs of our communities were met. They made sure those around them did not have to suffer in isolation. They nourished their neighbors in more ways than one," the mother of one said.

"And they showed us, all of us, that even in the darkest times, when we come together, we have the power to remind someone else that there is hope, and that we will be okay," Meghan concluded.

Since returning to her home state of California with her husband Prince Harry and their 19-month-old son Archie in March, she has been volunteering around the Los Angeles area.

In April, Meghan and Harry 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.

And in June, they visited Homeboy Industries, a community social justice organization working to improve the lives of formerly incarcerated and previously gang-involved people in L.A., and joined the group's participants (called "Homies") working in the café and bakery to prepare food for the #FeedHOPE program, which employs Homeboy participants to provide meals to food-insecure seniors and youth across L.A. amid the ongoing health crisis.

Then in August, one month after her miscarriage, the couple took part in a drive-through event with Baby2Baby, an L.A.-based national nonprofit organization.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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