On Wednesday, April 15, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped out to deliver meals — and smiles — to some Los Angeles residents living with critical illnesses. But it wasn’t the first time they’ve volunteered at Project Angel Food, a non-profit charity that cooks, prepares and delivers meals to people in need.
“The Duke and Duchess wanted to be of service on Easter, and they decided to volunteer at Project Angel Food and give our drivers a break that day,” Richard Ayoub, Project Angel Food’s executive director, told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “They loved the experience so much that they came back on Wednesday, and did more deliveries.”
“I think their whole goal was to be of service,” Richard explained to HL. “That was their main goal, their secondary goal was to relieve our drivers of some of their workload, because our drivers delivered to 50 to 60, people a day. Ant their third goal was to hopefully give someone a smile.”
Richard, who was there to give Meghan and Harry the tour, called the couple “totally down to earth” and told HL that it was all a big surprise. “It was very surprising and really pretty spectacular that this is the first organization, not only in L.A., but in the United States, that they wanted to work with, and that happened to be Project Angel Food.”
“I greeted them on Easter Sunday. It’s the best Easter Sunday I’ve ever had. And I gave them a tour of the kitchen. And they talked to our chefs. And they were very, very highly engaged. They asked questions, they asked about the meal production, about the medically tailored meals, about how many we do a week, who are the clients, and what are they going through. And then they talked to chefs and asked the chefs how long they had worked with us. They were really spectacular.”
“One of the first questions I asked them, before we went into the kitchen, was how would you like to be referred to as Duke and Duchess? And they immediately interrupted me and said no, as Harry and Meghan.”
Not only were they interested in learning all about the charity, they were also very hands on. “They drove in their own vehicle,” Richard told HL. “They took our food, a week’s worth of food delivered to each client. And they also took non perishable food, because we’re delivering it to every client, just in case of emergency and we can’t get to them, that they have food.”
“I think that Meghan wants to show Harry L.A. through the eyes of philanthropy and through the eyes of Project Angel Food. They really are concerned about vulnerable people. You know, especially with COVID. Our clients are the ones who are most prone to get the virus. And if they get it they may die, because most are over the age of 60, and they have heart disease, lung disease, diabetes. And Meghan and Harry, they were really interested in meeting the clients and talking to them and seeing how they were doing.”
Although Meghan was already familiar with Project Angel Food, Richard told HL that it was her mother, Doria Ragland, that suggested they help out at the highly respected charity. “Meghan says that because she lived in L.A. she knew about Project Angel Food. And they wanted to do something to volunteer on Easter, and she was talking to her mother and her mother said Project Angel Food needs help.”
Richard told HL that helping out during COVID-19 is a big concern for the couple. “They really care about people and about making the world a better place. And COVID is going on, and so, I think they thought Project Angel Food takes care of these people, let’s go see some of them. And they were really impressed with the gratitude that they received on behalf of Project Angel Food, people were just gushing about how this service is so important to them right now.
“When they came to see us they didn’t take any pictures or do anything for publicity. I think they just did it because those are the kinds of people they are, that’s what they do. Harry’s whole life has been service and that’s just who they are.”
Although Meghan and Harry didn’t bring their 11-month-old son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor, along for their volunteering, as soon as they were done they back to playing with there beloved baby. “After Easter they called me and said, ‘well we did all our deliveries and we’re gonna go play with Archie now,'” Richard told HL.
Since it’s inception in 1989, Project Angel Food as served over 12 million meals to more than 20,000 people. But with COVID-19 the need is even greater. “Right now we’re feeding 1,600 people a day but we are going to be adding 400 more people this month,” Richard told HL, “so we’re really in need of donations right now.”