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TICKER: Woman fined for offering free lunch to children

A woman is being fined for offering free lunch to local children in Philadelphia.  Angela Prattis has been running a free lunch program in the Toby Farms Community of Chester Township, giving 60 children free lunch every day.  The program is funded by the state department of education and administered by the archdiocese of Philadelphia.

According to NBC10 of Philadelphia, Prattis was told by her township that she needs a variance to run her program.

“It’s a letter stating, ‘shut it down or face a $600 fine,’” said Prattis.

“Apparently the township has said there was one more hurdle that she had to jump from their point of view,” said Anne Ayella of the Archdiocese. “But from our point of view she’s done everything right.”

“We’re talking about children,” said Prattis. “Children. It’s unbelievable. They’ve never once said anything to me in reference to what to do to be in the right standing with the township.”

According to Bill Pisarek, the business manager of the Chester Township, Prattis is in violation of the residential zone requirements.

“Basically the property is in an R3 residential zone,” said Pisarek.

The town says that since Prattis is zoned residential, she needs a variance just to give away free lunches.  The application for a variance is $1,000.

“We’re not here to go after her, to hurt her, to take money from her or to prevent her from feeding kids that need the food,” said Pisarek.

Prattis plans to keep feeding the children no matter what, but isn’t sure where she will get the money for the variance.
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