*A Philando Castile memorial fund has wiped out a year’s worth of school lunch debt in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Castile, whose murder by police officer Jeronimo Yanez sparked nationwide outrage, worked as a nutrition services supervisor at the J.J. Hill Montessori school in St. Paul.
Yanez was found not guilty for Castile’s death earlier this summer.
According to Splinter News, “The Philando Feeds The Children Fund was started by Pam Fergus, a local community college professor who was inspired by stories of Castile having helped pay for student’s lunches with his own money.”
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“We just had this little idea that we were going to help do Mr. Phil’s job and make sure you guys have good lunch to eat every day,” Fergus told students, according to a WCCO report.
In total, more than 2000 donors helped the fundraise over $72,000—well above the initial $5,000 goal.
“We as a community have to work together in order for things to work,” Valerie told WCCO. “This would’ve meant everything to him.”
The money raised is enough to wipe out St. Paul Public Schools’ $400 per-student lunch costs for the coming year, but Fergus noted that the fund’s work is hardly done.
“Kids gotta eat every every semester,” she wrote on the PFTC crowdfunding page. “We are set to help pay off lunch debt this school year, but will keep asking for donations and sharing of this site because we plan to ALWAYS find a way to help! Philando Feeds the Children is gonna be around a LONG time :)”
In addition to the Philando Feeds the Children fund, a separate scholarship has been established in his name by his former classmates at St. Paul’s Central High School. The $5,000 award is intended for an “African American male or to a member of another underrepresented demographic in education.”