Philando Castile Fund Settles City's School Lunch Debt

Adjust Comment Print

Before Philando Castile became a household name after being fatally shot by police at a traffic stop in 2016, he was known for helping students who could not afford lunch at the school where he worked.

Castile, 32, was a nutrition services supervisor at JJ Hill Montessori Magnet School, which is an elementary school for pre-Kindergarten students through Grade 5.

Part of that money has now been used to pay off the cafeteria debt for all 56 schools in the Saint Paul Public Schools district where Philando Castile worked up until his death. "One by one", the charity announced on the fund-raising site this week.

To honor Castile's legacy of generosity, Pamela Fergus, an Inver Hills Community College professor, started the Philando Feeds the Children fund on YouCaring, a free fundraising and crowdfunding website.

Donors may also mail contributions in the form of a check made out to "Philando Feeds the Children" to: P. Fergus, 2323-ILION Av N, Minneapolis, MN, 55411.

Pam Fergus, an educator who launched the charity, told CNN she delivered a $35,000 check to the St. Paul Public School District this week. That's important because until the debt is paid, students' caregivers can not submit paperwork to request free to reduced-price lunches, based on need, Fergus said.

"The pocket's gotten pretty deep", Fergus said. "Students shouldn't be in debt over lunch". Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was in the vehicle with her then 4-year-old daughter, recorded the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook Live.

Thousands of school kids in Minnesota can now eat school lunches without incurring more debt, thanks to Philando Castile. Yanez fired seven shots at Castile, later telling his supervisors he thought the man was grabbing his gun.

Fergus said that while she never met Castile, she has heard much about him from his mother, Valerie Castile, who has been a strong supporter of the charity.

Castile's death sparked nationwide protests against police violence after the shooting and again after Yanez was found not guilty of manslaughter.

"I don't know how much it would take to help the whole state of Minnesota", she told the network. "He was just a loving, giving human being". "Then finding out that he was in education, just hit me and inspired me and my students to turn something tragic into something positive".