North Bay soup kitchen reopens doors for in-person dining

After more than two years of take-out only, The Gathering Place in North Bay is welcoming its clients to eat together inside again.

"We're at 26 seats now. We were at 35 before COVID, so we're not quite full capacity," said Dennis Chippa, executive director of The Gathering Place.

"There are limitations to how long they can stay."

The organization addresses food insecurity issues and provides free, daily drop-in meals.

"This morning we just brought them in as they were. But now we're bringing them in a few at a time, sit them down, make them comfortable, get them a meal, then we bring in a few more," Chippa said.

He told CTV News close to 60 per cent of his clients are still opting for the takeout option, but he believes as people continue to get more comfortable, the tables will get busier.

"Once people get more comfortable, more aware of us being open, they will probably come in. The whole idea is a lot of these folks have no place to sit. They sit on the ground. They sit on a park bench. So, I think it will keep picking up and we will see more people sitting down," Chippa said.

Dining in is being offered Monday to Friday, while on the weekends takeout is offered.