Fighting Childhood Hunger During COVID-19 – The LaSalle Theatre Hosts A Local Food Giveaway

Kids across the nation struggle to afford the essentials they need for healthy development, including the most important necessity: food. According to Feeding America, 16 million kids struggle with hunger each year. As a result, 1 in 5 children go hungry at some point during the year. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many children relied on the meals their schools provided them as their primary source of nourishment. To help feed those who may be struggling during this time, The LaSalle Theatre in Cleveland Ohio, a historic tax equity investment of Monarch Private Capital, partnered with sponsors J.B.s Grill & Soul Food and Washington Wellness Institute to host a food giveaway for students in the community.

Children under the age of 19, living in the neighborhood of Collinwood, can come to the LaSalle Theatre and pick up lunches on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Washington Wellness Institute collects the meals provided by J.B.s Grill & Soul Food and distributes them outside of the theatre where children and parents can either walk up or have it delivered to their car if preferred. Gallons of milk are also up for grabs for anyone, not just children.

This community giveback program is directly addressing and working to fight the detrimental affects COVID-19 has had on children in the Collinwood area whose primary source of food comes from their school cafeteria. Now, many Collinwood families who were already struggling before the pandemic can breathe a sigh of relief, because no matter how badly COVID-19 devastates other aspects of life, nothing is more critical than keeping our children from going hungry.

The rehabilitation of the LaSalle Theatre could not have been possible without the use of the historic tax credit (HTC). The HTC sparks community growth and involvement like this in cities across the nation. The once blighted and rundown building has become a staple to the area, now able to provide selfless services like hosting food giveaways for children in need. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the LaSalle Theatre is a local landmark that pays homage to the unique history of the area while also providing a great, new resource to the public.  

A Brief History

Originally constructed in 1927, the LaSalle was originally a single-screen theatre building and the showplace and public meeting place of its day. Designed by Cleveland Architect, Nicola Petti, it was built to be a mixed-used structure that included the theatre as well as their bank branch, retail stores, and apartments. The theatre operation was dissolved in the 1990’s and became a blighted property in need of serious repair. Northeast Shores Development Corporation (NSDC) recognized the potential for the property and partnered with Monarch Private Capital to rehabilitate the property into a new public showplace with a restored lobby and three levels of seating/event space. The venue provides flexible space for weddings, fundraisers, concerts, theatre, awards ceremonies, conferences and expos.