NORTH BAY -- The North Bay Food Bank is edging closer to a post-pandemic service for people who need to use its assistance.

This includes returning to regular or pre-COVID-19 hours by the end of the month, along with building up its food delivery program.

The shelves and bins may be full at the food bank, but because of the pandemic , food is out the door almost instantly.

"There's more people and we're seeing some of our regulars have dropped off," explains food bank executive director Debbie Marson. "Some people we haven't seen in a long time, even from months and even years, are coming back and I think it's going to flip back again where those people aren't coming and our regulars are coming back."

New protocol was put in place inside: including plexiglass at desks between clients and staff and only a certain number of clients are allowed in at one time.

"That's probably not going to change for a long time," said Marson. "We just can't have people in there in such close proximity."

The food bank's traditional fundraisers are currently on hold. It's a huge support system on a month to month basis. However, Marson says the community and multiple businesses have stepped up tremendously in this time of need.

One of those businesses is The Beer Store on Main Street. It has raised just shy of $18,000 for the food bank since mid-May through its empty beer bottle campaign.

"A lot of people, no fault of their own, are out of work or are suffering with not being able to pay the bills or get groceries, so we thought this would be the perfect opportunity," said The Beer Store's Steve Sarlo.

Marson wants to thank the community for doing all it can for the help.

"We're still relying heavily on the community on the month to month," she concluded. "That's what we require and they've never let us down. I have no doubt they are going to be there for us moving forward."

Marson says the food bank is in desperate need of condiments, canned beans and other non-perishable food items and with a post-pandemic plan beginning at the end of the month, staff want to see their clients not go hungry.