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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry support Texas women's shelter after historic winter storm

Texas storm exposes issues with power grid
Texas storm exposes issues with power grid 02:23

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have surprised a women's shelter in Texas, after last week's deadly winter storm left millions across the state without power or water amid historic low temperatures

Genesis Women's Shelter & Support in Dallas suffered large-scale damage to their transitional housing facility Annie's House, as well as their school and offices last week. On Sunday, the shelter sent an emotional thank you to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for their support through their non-profit, Archewell Foundation.  

"Today, we learned that the news of the damages we incurred from Winter Storm Uri reached Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex!" the shelter said in a statement Sunday. "Through their nonprofit, Archewell Foundation, they are supporting us by replacing the roof at our transitional housing facility and also helping us meet our immediate needs." 

Genesis works to support women and children who have experienced domestic violence, providing them resources including housing and counseling. Just last year, the shelter served 3,700 women and children. 

"In spite of the devasting winter storms here in Texas, our hearts have been warmed by the support and generosity of people from all 50 states and five foreign countries," Jan Langbein, Genesis' CEO, told CBS News. "Not only will this gift provide for our critical needs, it shines an international spotlight on violence against women and children, letting survivors know that they are not alone."

Following a week of snow and frigid temperatures, Texans are facing skyrocketing electric bills, food shortages and a lack of access to clean water. On Saturday, President Biden issued a major disaster declaration, making 77 of Texas' 254 counties eligible for federal funding to help with recovery efforts.

On Wednesday, the shelter said that it was forced to completely shut down for the first time in its 35-year history due to an extended total power outage. 

"Additionally, the pipes burst in our transitional housing unit Annie's House, flooding apartments, offices and the on-site school," the shelter said. "Because of this, all residents on our safe campus have been temporarily relocated to alternative safe locations." 

On Saturday, Genesis said it was able to reopen its emergency shelter. 

"We still have a long way to go and many months until our transitional housing unit will be reopened, but this is a critical first step in the right direction!" it tweeted

Texas governor on skyrocketing energy bills 20:05

ET Canada confirmed that Harry and Meghan spoke to Genesis workers on Sunday, sharing that "their hearts remain with the community, with the families Genesis serves, and with the volunteers and workers on the ground who selflessly provide care and support to those in need."

They added that "like so many, the couple is heartbroken to see communities across Texas still struggling to access the very basic resources we all need—water, heat, food, shelter" and hope that others will be compelled to donate or help out "whatever way they can."

The support follows a week of major announcements for the royal couple, including that they are expecting their second child, and will not be returning as working members of the royal family. However, they made it clear that they are still committed to public service.

"As evidenced by their work over the past year, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role," a spokesperson for the couple told CBS News. "We can all live a life of service. Service is universal."

Prince Harry, Meghan split from royal duties 02:42
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