Genesis Women's Shelter & Support is getting a new roof, thanks to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The Dallas domestic violence shelter and support agency posted on social media late February 21 that news of the damages they sustained from Winter Storm Uri had reached Prince Harry and Meghan nee Markle, who live in California.
"Through their nonprofit, Archewell Foundation, they are supporting us by replacing the roof at our transitional housing apartment complex and also helping us meet our immediate needs," their post said. Big and small, local and international, each and every donation reminds us that we are not alone and we will make it through."
Genesis provides safety, shelter, and support for women who have experienced domestic violence, and raises awareness through a variety of services.
The shelter had to shut down for the first time in its 35-year history last week due to an extended power outage and damage and flooding from burst pipes. All residents had to be temporarily relocated to alternative safe locations. The organization put out a call for blankets, warm clothing items, flashlights, batteries, and meals, and they were hoping to raise enough funds to purchase two commercial automatic generators.
Their plight made national news, and the public has responded generously.
“In spite of the devastating 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,” said Jan Langbein, CEO of Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support in a statement.
According to Entertainment Tonight, Harry and Meghan spoke to the Genesis team 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 ... 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.”
Genesis was able to reopen its emergency shelter over the weekend, but it will take months to reopen its transitional housing unit, they say. Langbein did not disclose the amount of the Archewell donation but said it will help them get back on their feet.
“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," she says.
In fact, Dallas Police Department is reporting an uptick in domestic violence cases in February. They offer Genesis on a list of resources that can help.
Another Dallas shelter, The Family Place, also suffered damage from burst pipes during the storm and had to move more than 100 clients to offsite locations. The nonprofit is still seeking emergency donations through their website. So are dozens of other organizations; a list of ways to help is here.
Harry and Meghan join a growing list of celebrities helping Texans recover from Winter Storm Uri, including Beyonce and Solange Knowles, Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Dak Prescott, Kacey Musgraves, Bethenny Frankel, and Mark Cuban.
The duke and duchess' Dallas donation came the same weekend Britain's Queen Elizabeth confirmed they would not return as working royals, saying the couple would not "continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service."
“We can all live a life of service," the Sussexes responded in a statement. "Service is universal.”
The Genesis donation is thought to be their first act of service since their split with the royal family became official. They've often championed causes that help women.
On February 22, the couple made a surprise appearance on Spotify's Steam On event to talk about their new podcast. "We created Archewell Audio to make sure that we can elevate voices that maybe aren't being heard and hear people's stories," Meghan says in a promo video posted to Instagram.
Harry and Meghan, who announced on Valentine's Day that they are expecting their second child, recently sat down with Oprah for a "tell-all" interview. Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special will air in at 7 pm Sunday, March 7 on CBS.