​Philadelphia Woman May Need To Pay $600 A Day Fine For Free Lunches

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August 18, 2012

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A Philadelphia woman known as the ‘Lunch Lady’ is facing a $600 a day fine for giving free meals to low-income children in her neighborhood, but the city doesn’t like it.

Angela Prattis says she donates her time to give away the food, which she says feeds about 60 kids a day, but town leaders say she’s not allowed to give away the food because she needs to get permission from the Chester Township zoning board.

“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.