Words by Nick Slay
In the midst of all the headlines concerning Philando Castile‘s death at the hands of police officer Jeronimo Yanez, the topic of his life wasn’t always front and center. Castile was employed at J.J. Hill Montessori School, and was a nutrition services supervisor. Many students of that school, they knew Castile in a very different light.
The Philando Feeds the Children Fund aims to commemorate his memory in the service of the children he served. The Fund started by Pam Fergus (a local community college professor), started the charity inspired by the the true life story that Castile would often pay for lunches for students that couldn’t afford them out of his own pocket. As told to WCCO Report, Fergus was quoted as saying to students, “We had this little idea that we were going to help to Philando’s job and make sure you guys have good food to eat everyday.”
This past Friday, Castile’s mother, Valerie, dropped off the first ever check to cover lunch debt. “This project means the world to me,” she told the Star Tribune. It costs on average $400 a year for one student’s lunch, and Philando Feeds the Children will make it easier for parents who don’t make a lot of money, but also don’t qualify for free or reduced meals at St. Paul Public Schools.
Over 2000 donors helped the fund skyrocket past its initial goal of $5000 and hit $77,000, that has now been raised. The goal has now been increased to $100,000 to try to pay every debt in the state.