*A year and a half after Philando Castille was fatally shot by a trigger-happy cop during a 2016 traffic stop, a fund-raiser created in his memory delivered a $35,000 check to St. Paul Public Schools — enough to pay off the debt owed by every student enrolled in the National School Lunch Program at the district’s 56 schools, including Mr. Castile’s former campus.
“That means that no parent of the 37,000 kids who eat meals at school need worry about how to pay that overdue debt,” according to an update from the charity website. “Philando is still reaching into his pocket, and helping a kid out. One by one. With your help.”
Stacey Koppen, director of Nutrition Services at Saint Paul Public Schools, worked with Castile, and remembers him as a “kind and caring” person.
“This fundraiser honoring him and his memory couldn’t be more perfect,” said Koppen. “This is what he did. He did so without question or praise.”
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According to reports, “Philando Feeds the Children started as a college class project led by Metropolitan State University students. It has now reached approximately 3,500 donors and received over $130,000 in donations to feed the children of St. Paul,” per abcnews.com. The organization said it is currently seeking official non-profit status with the state of Minnesota.
Now that Philando Feeds the Children has eliminated all of the school lunch debt in the district, the rest of the money raised will go towards helping more students in the future.
Castile had worked at J.J. Hill since he was 19 years old, and was promoted in 2014 to his position as a nutrition services supervisor, according to a statement by the Saint Paul Public Schools. He was fondly known for caring about the students’ welfare.
“He remembered [students’] names,” Joan Edman, a recently retired paraprofessional at the school, told TIME shortly after Castile’s death. “He remembered who couldn’t have milk. He knew what they could have to eat and what they couldn’t.”
Castile’s death sparked nationwide protests and demonstrations against police brutality. He was shot five times in his car by a police officer who was later acquitted of manslaughter charges.Watch:
This charity set up in Philando Castile’s name just paid the lunch debts for thousands of children pic.twitter.com/e2TtQVZy9F
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 6, 2018