By Charlie De Mar

CHICAGO (CBS) — The pandemic has disproportionately impacted women. More women have lost jobs than men. In many cases it has led to food insecurity.

At The Fat Shallot in Lincoln Park the focus inside is not what’s on the menu but rather who’s at the table.

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Lakeesha Hardin and Cleo Harris were recognized with a private lunch. Both lost their jobs during the pandemic.

“This past year has been trying,” said Hardin.

“The pandemic closed the hotel up, so we got laid off,” said Harris. “The pandemic has been very rough.”

Harris worked at a downtown hotel. Hardin was laid off from her restaurant catering gig.

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“I did become part of the World Central Kitchen family,” said Hardin.

World Central Kitchen is led by celebrity chef Jose Andres and has provided roughly 500,000 free meals to those in need in Chicago during the pandemic.

“World Central Kitchen wasn’t just a blessing for me but thousands of families,” said Harris.

The pandemic hit women hardest economically, which is why the Duke and Duchess of Sussex reached out with personal notes and a cake — as small slice of encouragement.

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“It was a privilege to be honored,” said Hardin. “Just taking everything one day at a time, waiting for everything to turn around.”

Charlie De Mar