HFLA of Northeast Ohio hosted its Party115 Gala Nov. 9 at the Silver Grille in the Higbee Building in Cleveland.

Two-hundred-and-20 guests attended the sold-out event, which raised $184,000 for the organization that provides interest-free loans to individuals, families and small businesses in the Northeast Ohio area.

Chef Jeremy Umansky, owner of Larder Delicatessen & Bakery located in the Ohio City Firehouse in Cleveland’s Hingetown neighborhood, was honored at this year’s event with the HFLA Planting Seeds Award.

Umansky received an interest-free loan from HFLA enabling him to purchase professional knives and books needed to attend The Culinary Institute of America.

Noting he received the loan about 13 years ago, Umansky said the loan was “absolutely instrumental” to his success. He opened Larder in 2018.

“The great thing is not being penalized – essentially paying a high interest rate – to be able to use that money,” Umansky said. “When (it) came to the time for me to pay that loan and other loans back, that was the first to be paid back without a question.”

Asked how it felt to be honored, Umansky told the Cleveland Jewish News the feeling is “virtually indescribable.”

“I don’t do things looking to receive an honor, so to be recognized as someone who did benefit from the organization and then has gone on to – for the time being – create a successful business along with my business partners and whatnot, it’s incredibly flattering,” he said. Also describing the honor as being “incredibly humbling,” Umansky said he hopes to set an example for others in the community.

“That they can go ahead and pursue a dream and ... not have to worry” about being penalized for using other people’s money, he continued, “and really, honestly, see that there’s good people out there who want you to succeed and be a strong member of their community, of your community.”

The event’s honorary co-chairs were Hallie and Eric Kogelschatz, owners of shark&minnow.

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