CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania - A woman trying to feed the kids in her neighborhood during the summer may be fined for her good deed.
Why local government is upset
Angela Prattis of Chester Township, which is just outside Philadelphia, has spent the past few months handing out free lunches to the children in her community while they're home from school for the summer break. The food, supplied by the archdiocese of Philadelphia, helps low-income residents of the township, which has a per capita income of $19,000 a year.
The city council was alerted to Prattis's free lunches and ruled that if she continues to give away food next summer, she will need a variance or be fined $600 a day. The council says she needs a variance because she's giving away meals in a residential area, which is a zoning violation. However, if Prattis gets a variance to distribute the food, the administrative fees would cost up to $1,000. The Chester Township City Council has agreed to allow Prattis to continue distributing food for the duration of the summer, but next summer is a whole new battle. Currently, Prattis files paperwork weekly and is visited by a state worker biweekly to ensure she is doing what she says she's doing.
Why Prattis does it
Prattis, who does not make any money on the meal distribution, says she wanted to help make sure the neighborhood kids received at least one healthy meal a day during the summer. "You have houses here. The roofs are falling in, and they could be focused on a lot more serious issues than me feeding children," Prattis said of the city council's ruling.
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