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Youth movement at the Gathering place?

'Maybe they're getting extra meals already to offset some of the costs of college'
20201010 gathering place cd
The Gathering Place on Cassells Street in North Bay. Chris Dawson/BayToday.

Dennis Chippa continues to see a fluctuation in the type of individuals who are accessing The Gathering Place, North Bay's local soup kitchen; offering meals for the hungry. 

The facilities executive director who has been overseeing the facility for eight years 

Chippa has witnessed a heavy uptick in soup kitchen usage since the pandemic. 

This summer, Chippa says they are seeing a lot more young people accessing their free food service. 

"We are seeing a significant increase in younger people, mid-teens to early and mid 20's," he admits. 

"We are seeing a few more seniors than we had before but definitely what would be one of the biggest trends we're seeing is a younger age group.

"They come in a group. Literally six or seven of them. Whether they're just driving by on their bikes, or they're coming by on their skateboards and picking up a meal to go I don't know. But we are definitely seeing that."

Chippa cannot explain it. 

"Maybe they're getting extra meals already to offset some of the costs of college," he wonders.  

"We don't know who these kids are. Maybe high school kids or young college kids. There are a lot of students that utilize the university and the college food banks during the winter during the school season. Maybe they cannot access it right now. Maybe that's why they're trying to offset their costs a little bit would be you know, would be one of the ideas is that maybe these college kids are trying to offset some of their costs." 

Overall, Chippa says the usage of the soup kitchen continues to increase although he admits the beginning of the month is slower than other times.  

"Last week when I was down serving dinner, we were doing 120 to 125 for dinner and 115 to 120 for lunch," he said. 

"You know 50, to 60, to 70 people at times for breakfast. So the numbers have been steadily increasing as the summer progresses. It is a cyclical thing."

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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