The shooting death of Philando Castile by St. Paul, Minn. Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez garnered justifiable outrage in its wake. The subsequent audio and video of the events shocked the nation as Castile attempted to comply with conflicting commands from Yanez and was shot and killed for his efforts.
But along with the anger and marches against police brutality was a call to action for some to create a positive legacy in honor of Castile’s life.
At the time of his death, Philando Castile was a nutrition services supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori school in St. Paul. In light of that fact, community college professor, Pam Fergus, had the inspiration to create a fund in Castile’s honor.
The Philando Feeds The Children Fund has recently announced it will be able to wipe clean every school lunch account in arrears in the St. Paul Public School system.
As Castile was known for using his own money to help pay for student’s lunches when needed, this fund is truly carrying on the legacy of Philando Castile in a very appropriate way.
“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 fund raise over $72,000—well above the initial $5,000 goal—which was presented to officials at J.J. Hill on Friday by Castile’s mother Valerie.
The St. Paul Public School system averages approximately $400 per-student lunch costs for the year, and Fergus notes the Fund’s job is just beginning.
“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 :)”
There is also a separate scholarship fund in Castile’s name created by his former classmates at St. Paul’s Central High School. The $5,000 award will help an “African American male or to a member of another underrepresented demographic in education.”
These are the kinds of stories we should highlight and hear more about. A man tragically shot down being remembered and helping others in death as he tried to do in life. What a terrific legacy.