While it may be close to the hearts of local residents, a homegrown program that feeds the hungry with dignity is gaining major momentum nationally and is on the verge of becoming a pilot project in several locales.

After being highlighted on the front page of a national newspaper in early February, Operation Sharing’s Food for Friends program is getting a lot of attention from both those in the industry and media.

“We’re getting emails and phone calls off the hook,” explained Chaplain Stephen Giuliano of Operation Sharing, who introduced Food for Friends in Woodstock in 2005. “Part of it is there is a change in the wind in terms of the whole food bank system. People are looking for something else more progressive and dignified.”