A memorial fund created in Philando Castile‘s honor has raised enough money to clear a year’s worth of student lunch debt throughout St. Paul, Minnesota.
In a report from CBS Minnesota, the Philando Feeds The Children Fund raised over $72,000 dollars with more than 2,000 donors contributing to the fund. The initial goal for the fundraiser was $5,000. Prior to his untimely death at the hands of former police officer Jeronimo Yanez, Castile served as a nutrition services supervisor at the J.J. Hill Montessori school in St. Paul.
“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,” Pam Fergus, a local community college professor who started the fund, said to students.
The fund was given to officials at J.J. Hill by Castile’s mother, Valerie.
“We as a community have to work together in order for things to work,” Valerie said. “This would’ve meant everything to him.”
The money raised by the fund is expected to take care of St. Paul Public Schools’ $400 per-student lunch costs for the coming year. However, Fergus plans on keeping the fund website open so people can continue to donate.
“Kids gotta eat every semester,” she wrote on the fundraising 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 :)”