Philando Castile would often reach into his own pocket to pay for student lunches when the children didn't have enough money to cover the cost, and in remembrance of the nutrition services supervisor, a memorial fund has been set up that aims to wipe out all student lunch debt in Minnesota.
Philando Feeds the Children was set up by a local college professor, with the goal of raising $5,000 to take care of the lunch debt of children in the St. Paul area. By Tuesday night, $77,000 had been raised, and the goal had been increased to $100,000 to try to pay every debt in the state. In 2016, Castile was shot and killed by police officer Jeronimo Yanez in an incident that was captured on tape and sparked protests.
Castile worked at J.J. Hill Montessori School, and on Friday, his mother, Valerie, dropped off the first check to cover lunch debt. "This project means the world to me," she told the Star Tribune. Stacy Koppen, director of nutrition services at St. Paul Public Schools, said 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. "This fund really speaks to exactly who Philando Castile was as a passionate school nutrition leader," Koppen told NBC News.