Angela Prattis is active in her Pennsylvania community; she’s a stay-at-home mom who fosters a child and runs a basketball program in the neighborhood. The long list of her good deeds should be enough to keep her on the good side of the town officials, but since she started giving free lunches to nearby children who aren’t as fortunate as her own, she’s catching some flack.
Prattis set up a service out of her driveway every weekday during the summer to hand out free lunches, which Delaware County officials say is against an ordinance. If she wants to continue to do so next summer, she’ll have to pay a thousand dollars in fines. Because the food is coming from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Nutritional Development Services–where she volunteers–and because her home has been approved by the state as a place to distribute food, Prattis is confused.
“No one is condemning her for feeding children that need the lunch program,” said township manager William Piserik. “But we advised her she’s violating an ordinance and was told she’d have to apply for a variance, which costs $1,000 to pay for the zoning hearing. I’m assuming she’ll sit down and discuss it with the Township Council and the solicitor. Nobody’s against the program, but folks don’t want the program set up in the lady’s front driveway.”
Since Prattis’ story broke, people from all over the country are outraged that community leaders would try and take away such a valuable program–which affects at least 60 children–over a bit of bureaucracy. Prattis says she’ll work something out, but until then, the kids won’t suffer.
“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,” she said. “Last Friday, I had 20 children walk to my house in the pouring rain for lunch, and at 2 pm they came back for a snack. Tell me this program is not needed.”