Local woman receives complaints over feeding needy children

August 15, 2012 3:34:57 PM PDT
A Delaware County woman is at odds with Chester Township officials over her efforts to feed needy children in her neighborhood.

The woman's name is Angela Prattis, and she has been feeding about 60 children in her Toby Farms Community in Brookhaven.

The woman and the township have both expressed a desire to work things out for the good of the children.

Angela Prattis is a trained volunteer with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Nutritional Development Services.

She's been supplying lunch and snacks to the kids in her neighborhood from her driveway since July 16th.

The state pays for the food and has inspected and approved Prattis' operation.

But recently she received a letter from Chester Township saying that she was violating a zoning ordinance, which could lead to fines if she didn't stop feeding children from her home.

"I was shocked," said Prattis. "I thought it was a misunderstanding in their law."

Township manager, Bill Pisarek says he received a complaint about Angela's operation.

"When I get a complaint from a resident or taxpayer in the municipality, it's my responsibility to investigate the complaint," said Pisarek.

"I don't know who complained, but it wasn't us," said Trayce White.

"I have to bring my sister down here," said Karl Kintu Morris.

Archdiocese officials say there are more than 400 people like Angela Prattis who distribute food from their homes during the summer. In more than 30 years, they have never had a problem like this.

Angela grew up receiving help from this same program she is now running.

"We were able to go to a recreation center and receive the free lunch and do arts and crafts. We don't have a recreation center for me to go to within our immediate community," Prattis said. "Instead of complaining about the children in the street, I decided to do something about it."

"I think it is a blessing what she's doing for these kids," said Sherri Johnson. "I think it is a shame how they are going after her."

But Township Manager says that's not the case at all.

"We haven't fined her, haven't shut her down. We haven't done anything to jeopardize the program that she is running," says Pisarek.

The township is allowing Angela to continue her program until it ends on August 24th, and Angela has agreed to comply with the zoning ordinance

and apply for a zoning hearing to continue her program next summer.


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