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.”

Since the recession, citizens’ groups have been springing up across the country to push for a guaranteed annual income…

The core of the movement is still academics and social activists, but they’ve been joined by growing numbers of middle-income Canadians who have grudgingly concluded a universal income floor is the only way to keep their country livable.

Toronto, a city increasingly segmented between rich and poor, now has more super-rich residents than any other city in North America except New York, a new survey has found.

The report from real estate consultancy Knight Frank ranked Toronto as the 12th “most important” city in the world for people with a net worth of US$30 million or more, referred to as “ultra high net worth individuals” (UHNWIs).

The survey found there are 1,216 such super-rich people in Toronto, the second-highest number in North America, behind only New York, with 3,008 super-rich people. Los Angeles recorded 969 people with US$30 million or more, while Chicago had 827.

There’s something horribly wrong when Canada produces plenty of food for everyone, yet there are many people who are dependent on food banks to eat, says Graham Riches, the co-editor of a new book looking at how wealthy countries around the world address hunger.

A retired director of the school of social work at the University of British Columbia, Riches co-edited First World Hunger Revisited: Food Charity or the Right to Food? with Tiina Silvasti, a social and public policy professor from Finland.

“Hunger has successfully been socially constructed as a matter for charity and not an issue requiring the priority attention of the state and public policy,” says a chapter that deals with Canada’s response to hunger, which Riches co-authored with Valerie Tarasuk at the University of Toronto.

Faith groups, including the Anglican Church of Canada, have thrown their support behind Dignity for All, a national campaign that urges Ottawa to legislate an anti-poverty plan that will address the plight of 4.8 million Canadians who struggle to make ends meet.

“Despite multiple calls for the development of a national poverty plan by the United Nations, the Senate, and the House of Commons Standing Committee, Canada has not stepped up to the plate,” said a 48-page report released by Dignity for All during a breakfast on Feb. 3 with Parliament’s All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus. “This means that there is no strategy in place at the national level to address the needs of one in seven people in Canada who live in poverty.”

Recipients of Ontario Social Assistance are living in the deepest poverty in society and falling further and further behind.

That’s wrong as far as Hamilton Community Legal Clinic Staff Lawyer Craig Foye is concerned. Foye and his colleagues have been trying to change this for more than 10 years.

Now, with support from the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, they are taking the case about inadequate social assistance rates to the people of Ontario through an online ideas generator run by the provincial government. TalkOntario.ca provides a forum to present ideas and have others vote on the merit of implementing the plan.