Kate Middleton and Prince William Help Out at Food Bank — But 'One Was Better Than the Other'
Kate Middleton and Prince William are lending a helping hand in their local community.
The Prince and Princess of Wales visited Windsor Foodshare on Thursday, where they aided volunteers in sorting food donations and getting packages ready for pick up later in the day.
"They did alright. One was better than the other, but I won't say which," Sarah Kember, manager of Windsor Foodshare, jokes to PEOPLE.
At one point, Prince William poked fun at Kate chatting with the volunteers. "Excuse me, too much nattering going on over here!" he quipped, causing the group to laugh.
Windsor Foodshare, which is marking its 10th anniversary this year, provides much-needed help to struggling families and households in the town through weekly donations of easily-stored provisions, bread, eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables. Toiletries and cleaning products are provided every month, and the organization runs a home delivery service for people with mobility requirements and those who do not have access to transport.
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Prince William, 40 and Kate, 41, pushed supermarket-style carts around to fill with produce during their visit.
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"They were just so friendly," says Kember. "We found them so open and putting us at ease. They were comfortable in everything they were doing. They're such a lovely couple."
Alastair Grant/AP/Shutterstock Kate, Princess of Wales, arrives to visit Windsor Foodshare
She adds, "They wanted to be involved, they wanted to be hands-on and not just come and see what we were doing. They asked, 'Can we physically get involved and do stuff?' I'm more than happy for more hands to help."
William and Kate even hinted that they might be back one day. "They've been invited, and if I'm short of volunteers, I know where to go!" Kember says.
Alastair Grant/AP/Shutterstock Prince William
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The couple also met those involved in running the service and were told how the charity's key principles revolved around treating any potential client as equals and making no judgments on their circumstances. Families and individuals are referred to the service by a variety of sources like schools, doctors, social services, churches and community wardens.
The town may be in a relatively well-to-do area, but the royal couple was also told about how the rising cost of living has brought a sharp increase for Windsor Foodshare's services. Last year, the charity helped to feed more than 7,000 local residents, an increase of 18% from the previous year's support.
PEOPLE understands that Prince William and Kate asked to visit the food bank as part of their ongoing push to highlight the challenges faced by communities during the harsh winter months.
"I think actually it's really lovely," a volunteer named Emma says. "They're living mostly in Windsor, and it's really lovely that they want to be involved I their community, which is exactly as it should be."
Fellow volunteer Ilka praised the royals for shining a light on the work and helping raise that profile. "It is difficult time for everybody, and we need money and support."
Emma adds, "We discussed with Kate the fact that mass produced vegetables were always so straight, and wonky vegetables are quite fun on occasion." Emma also said the Princess was interested in where leftover food was brought, learning it went to a homelessness project.
Alastair Grant/AP/Shutterstock Kate, Princess of Wales, and Prince William visit Windsor Foodshare in Windsor
Prince William and Kate moved from Kensington Palace in London to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor with their three children — Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4 — last year.
"They love that the kids can go out on their bikes and cycle around the estate, and they are all really excited to meet everyone," a friend previously told PEOPLE. "It's a real little community."
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Although insiders say William and Kate will eventually live in the 1,000-year-old Windsor Castle itself, for now, cottage life is much like it is at their beloved country retreat, Amner Hall in Norfolk, where the kids and their friends are in and out of the swimming pool. George will flop onto the sofa beside his father, while Charlotte makes a beeline for familiar guests.
Theirs is a life of a "modern royal family doing normal things," as one close family friend puts it.
Zak Hussein / SplashNews.com Prince William and Kate Middleton
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On Wednesday, Kate was also carrying out public duties in Windsor. She hosted a meeting at the Castle for her Early Years initiative. The princess gathered a group of eight professionals from academia, science and the early years sector who she has chosen to add their voices to her early years work. They will offer strategic advice and provide oversight of the work of her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.