Published August 14, 2012
A Pennsylvania woman who offers free lunch every day to low-income children in her neighborhood faces a $600-a-day fine next summer if she continues because she did not clear the food giveaway with township officials.
Angela Prattis donates her time to distribute the meals -- supplied by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia -- and adheres to strict paperwork, like filling out weekly reports and being visited bi-weekly from a state worker, MyFoxPhilly.com reports.
"Angela saw it as a way to contribute to the community in a positive way," Anne Ayella, a member of the archdiocese, said. "There was nothing in it for her."
Prattis laughed and said, "I don’t make a dime."
Prattis lived in the township for three years. She reportedly distributes the meals to the 60 or so children at a gazebo on her property during the summer months, when children are home from school.
The Delaware County Times reports that another resident alerted the council about the distribution a few weeks ago. The council investigated and ruled that the practice is not permitted without a variance, the paper reported.
"You have houses here, the roofs are falling in, and they could be focused on a lot of more serious issues than me feeding children," she said.
Chester Township, which has a per capita income of $19,000 a year, says Prattis lives in a residential zone, hence handing out food to children is not allowed. The township says she needs to go before a zoning board to ask for a variance, which would cost her up to $1,000 in administrative fees.
"I don't think it's my responsibility to go to her to say, 'why don’t you come to talk to me to see if there’s something that we can do to help your program,'" William Pisarek, the Chester Township business manager, said.
Prattis told The Delaware County Times that she is not going to stop feeding the children in the area.