On Thursday, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, made an unannounced visit to Uvalde, Texas, to help the families of the school shooting victims. The duchess donated food at a local community center that was hosting a blood drive, and she also laid flowers at a memorial for the Robb Elementary School victims.
What makes this visit notable is that it was an incognito visit—meaning no one knew she was coming, the press was unaware she would be there, and she was dressed in jeans, sneakers, and a baseball cap.
Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, visited Uvalde today to pay tribute to the 19 students and two teachers killed at Robb Elementary.— Daniela Ibarra KTUL (@DanielaIbarraTV) May 26, 2022
Markle is the mother of two young children. @KTULNews pic.twitter.com/hdnraZtukN
She just wanted to help. And she used her means and position to do good for the families of Uvalde. She did what all moms across the country wish we could do right now—be a source of comfort and give what we have to the people who need it most.
Related: Mothers are not OK
Buzzfeed News reports that blood drive volunteers say Meghan quietly dropped by the community center's kitchen to drop off two large crates filled with sandwiches, beverages, and desserts for all of the blood donors.
"I had no idea who she was. She just was carrying on a conversation like her and I knew each other for years," volunteer Gloria Contreras tells BuzzFeed News. "We were just talking about, you know, the situation and what happened what we were doing here. I told her about us giving out water to the people and feeding them."
Naysayers on social media have already criticized the duchess for showing up, calling it a "PR stunt." In reality, a publicity stunt would include a press release announcing Meghan Markle's visit, a fancy outfit, a slew of security and her own camera team, Prince Harry on her arm, a public comment given in front of cameras, and anything else that would garner attention.
She showed up in the same clothes any mom wears on any given day in the school pick-up line, she didn't introduce herself to anyone, only a handful of people recognized her (some didn't even realize who she was until after she left), and the camera crews were already in Uvalde, snapping photos of the memorial and surrounding areas.
A Buzzfeed News reporter confirmed on Twitter that the visit was as inconspicuous as possible:
Regardless of all of that, if someone has the privilege, power, and finances to help a worthy cause, are we really going to sneer at them for it? Or deprive the people in need of her generous help? She had the time and money to get to Uvalde and do something—let her do it.
"I even talked about my personal life, telling her about my son and my family and, you know, coming to Texas because she told me she was from Santa Barbara and I said, 'Well, you need to come to Texas!'" Contreras said. "We were talking about Texas and Uvalde and how it is to be in a small town and how everybody is so kind and warm-hearted and know we know each other and stuff and how the faith is deep-rooted."
When the media reached out to a Sussex representative, they confirmed that Meghan visited Uvalde "in a personal capacity as a mother" to offer her "condolences and support in-person to a community experiencing unimaginable grief."
Another volunteer, Georgean Burnell, tells Buzzfeed News that Meghan was "really sweet" and showed up and immediately got to work.
"She just kind of walked in with her [security] crew and started putting ice waters in the bucket with us and laying out chips for the people who were needing snacks before and after donating," Burnell says. "It's funny, we didn't even know it was her until after she left and now we're so sad. I mean, to be honest, we thought she was our neighbor."