In 2016, Valerie Castile tragically lost her son, Philando Castile.
And while she still has not fully stopped grieving, she continues to push forward by helping others that are less fortunate. After his untimely demise, she founded the Philando Castile Relief Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to help individuals affected by victims of gun violence and police brutality and Philando Feeds The Children, an organization that has raised over $130K to pay off lunch debt for schools in St. Paul’s school system.
Her interest as of late has been working with youth. Last week, she blessed the Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope, Minnesota an $8,000 check to assist graduating seniors who would not be able to walk with lunch debts. Why this gesture?
Her son, Philando, was a cafeteria worker and one of his great joys was to pay the lunch debt for some of the students that he would encounter during his time working.
Surprisingly, student lunch debt is a big thing in America. A nation that is one of the most prosperous nations in the world, still cannot feed everyone. The School Nutrition Association (SNA) did a survey of 1,500 school districts and the median lunch debt has been rising over the last few years. Between 2016 and 2018, the debt has ballooned from $2,000 to $2,500 per district. The Castile family has been tackling this subject because studies show that students cannot function and achieve their best if they are hungry.
Valerie reflects on her son’s sense of generosity and shares, “He’s pay for children lunch meals out of his own pocket instead of letting a child go hungry that day…”