SUDBURY -- No one could have anticipated the COVID-19 pandemic when Stack Brewing opened its second location in Sudbury a year ago.

Patrons who walk into the Falconbridge Highway establishment immediately find the dining room closed. The sign says it's still open for take-out, but it's a different atmosphere than your average Canadian brew house.

"It's extremely difficult, I probably don't look very well but it's fatigue from working 12 hour days right now because when you lay off 90 per cent of your staff, we're not closed so I have to pick-up loose ends," said owner Shawn Mailloux.

Mailloux and his team found themselves with a lot food once Ontario declared a state of emergency, so they decided to put it to work.

"I'm a small business owner so I'm hurting right now, but I'm probably doing better than a lot of other people in the community, so if I can find a way to help them out and take a little bit of stress off of them .... so, we're donating some prepared meals for free."

A social media post went up on Facebook, asking people if they were in need of food to email the restaurant.

They're now preparing pulled pork and potato salad to the overwhelming response they received.

"There have been people that aren't affected, but they're reaching out on behalf of others which is great to see and it is building a sense of community," said chef Nicolas Gignac.

Ryan Mallough is with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. He says it's been heartwarming to hear the stories of Canadian small businesses dealing, as best they can, with COVID-19, while looking out for others in the community.

"We were really heartened to see that when Premier Ford put the call out for any small businesses to help that a huge number answered that call. We've seen distilleries and breweries move off of alcohol and beer and move onto hand sanitizer, we've heard from a lot of textile and sewing companies that they're ready to do whatever they need to make masks or hospital gowns, we've heard from manufacturers that are ready to get involved in making faces masks.

 On the health side, you really have seen the small business community step up and then in the community we've also heard of restaurants providing free meals to anyone who might be facing some food security right now, some space for those who need it, I know as we look for temporary hospital sites there's a lot of hotels that are starting to raise their hands saying we can take the excess flow of patients," said Mallough.

He's confident the recent decision made by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to sell take-out liquor will make a difference.

For now, Mallough's asking people to help to support those small businesses who are the hearts and souls of the community.

Meantime, Mailloux says he'll continue to help the community as long as he's able to do it. He's also feeding those employees affected by the recent provincial shut-down with prepared meals as well.

"Let's not try to infect each other, let's get this under control and hopefully we get through all this as a community."