Angela Prattis, a Pennsylvania lunch lady, has been fined $600 per day for handing out food to needy children.
Chester Township officials are claiming that the generous lunch lady did not obtain an ordinance variance, which they maintain she needs to conduct such charitable activities.
The special permit, which Prattis failed to obtain, costs $1,000, since the meals are donated through Education Department funds, under the guidance of the Archdiocese Philadelphia, according to the Blaze newspaper.
Prattis began handing out meals to needy children after she moved to the Trainer, Pa., area several years ago.
The lunch lady first started distributing meals to underprivileged children at the Church of the Overcomer. She then started utilizing the gazebo on her own property to feed about 60 needy area children during the summer months, when schools that often provide needy kids with much-appreciated breakfasts and lunches, are closed.
"I'm not stopping. These kids are hungry. I'm not tearing down the community. I'm keeping the children out of harm's way," Prattis told the Daily Times of Pennsylvania. "Last Friday, I had 20 children walk to my house in the pouring rain for lunch, and at 2 p.m. they came back for a snack. Tell me this program is not needed."
Prattis's good deed, which is supposed to be part of a subsidized program, is apparently bothering some residents. Township Council Chairman Stanley Kester said he has received a phone call from a resident notifying him about the food giveaway for needy children at the lunch lady's Toby Farms residence.
After reviewing the situation, it was decided that local zoning laws did not allow such acts without an ordinance variance.
"Basically the property is in an R3 residential zone," Chester Township business manager, Bill Pisarek, told NBC. "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."
Prattis said she doesn't believe she is in violation of zoning laws because she is not cooking or selling food to others, according to media reports. She also believes if an ordinance variance is needed, the fee should be waved for charitable activities.
In the meantime, the lunch lady said that, until she has a chance to appeal the fine or ordinance fee, she plans to keep feeding needy kids' lunch.
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