BEDFORD, Va. -

The first shipment of food has arrived at the Bedford Church of God.

"We saw a need and we want to meet the need," said lead pastor David Hinsen, whose small congregation is taking on a big task.

The church is opening a new food pantry to serve hungry families.

"We want to be a church that's connected with our community," Hinsen said, adding that he hopes to fill a void.

Until now Bedford has only had one food pantry.  Bedford Christian Ministries has been assisting clients for more than 20 years, and their services are in high demand.

"Bedford Christian Ministries serves about 250 housholds a month, or about 3,000 total household visits in the course of a year," said Houston Crum, financial aid director for Bedford Christian Ministries.

Hinsen said his church isn't trying to compete with the other food pantry.  If anything there is a desperate need for both services.

The pantry at Bedford Christian Ministries is only open in the morning.  People who work or can't find transportation during those hours have to visit food banks in Lynchburg or Roanoke to receive assistance.

"There are tons of families who make their way from Bedford to Lynchburg every day to pick up food," Hinsen said.

Bedford Church of God's food pantry will be open in the afternoon.  Leaders at Bedford Christian Ministries say the new offering will be a perfect compliment to their services.

"Having a food pantry that will be open in the evenings will be very welcome in this community," said Crum.

For his part, Hinsen is looking forward to extending the work of his church.

"If all we do is meet a couple times a week and go home, in a way we failed as a church," said Hinsen.  "We want the community to know we are here for them and not just ourselves."

Families will have a chance to learn that first hand when the new food pantry opens May 1.