BEDFORD, Va. -

In the back of what used to be a hardware store, Bedford families stock up on the tools of life: food, water, and friendly conversation.

"These people are really nice here that serve you," said Vanessa VanWart, a patron of the Shepherd's Table.  "I come here three days a week to eat and it saves me on the cost of cooking."

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, volunteers from Bedford-area churches serve up a healthy menu for families in need.

"We help the ones that are less fortunate," said Thelma Patterson, a Bedford resident who both volunteers with and patronizes the Shepherd's Table.  "Some days there are people here that wouldn't have a meal otherwise."

The Shepherd's Table has been feeding Bedford families for more than 20 years, but a financial hurdle could leave volunteers out in the cold this winter.

The building that's housed them for years needs a new roof.  The pricetag? Around $20,000.

"It's a large undertaking," said Tom Foster, co-director of the Shepherd's Table, adding that the amount needed is more than what they spend on food and upkeep every year.

If the roof isn't fixed, it'll effect more than just the Shepherd's Table.

Bedford Christian Ministries is also in the building.  They have a food pantry that's provided groceries for more than 2,000 households this year.

"For the people who live in Bedford and have no transportation to reach the other facilities, this is it for them," said Faith Cornell, a Bedford Christian Ministries volunteer.

Generous people helped start these organizations years ago.  Volunteers hope that same giving spirit will come through for them again.

"This community steps up when they see a need," Foster said with a smile.

The roof has already been leaking, which can damage the large amount of food that's stored in the building.  Volunteers are hoping to raise the money they need for the roof by early next year.

Donations can be made to:

The Shepherd’s Table

217 West Washington Street

Bedford, VA 24523.

Checks should be made payable to "The Shepherd's Table" with "roof" written on the memo line.