A Philadelphia woman who runs a free lunch program for dozens of children during the summer may be forced to shut down by the local township.
Angela Prattis told NBC Philadelphia she received a warning letter from Chester Township, ordering her to shut down or face a $600 fine.
“We’re talking about children,” Prattis said. “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.”
The program is funded by the state’s department of education and backed by the archdiocese of Philadelphia. On an average day, they feed 60 children. But the township claims Prattis is operating in a residential zone and didn’t apply for the proper permit––a $1,000 application she can’t afford.
Free lunch programs are run-of-the-mill in most states, where charitable organizations look to fill the gap for low-income families who rely on meals provided by schools. In Pennsylvania, 700,000 children receive free or reduced price lunches but the state has had trouble getting food to children in need during the summer, especially in hard-to-reach rural areas.
With the new school year scheduled to begin soon, Prattis says she’ll take her chances and continue operating.