On July 6, 2017, America was reminded how fast the world can change as it only took a Minnesota officer 40 seconds to turn a routine traffic stop into the murder of Philando Castile. Since his shooting, Castile’s family has been subjected to an unfortunate commonality of injustices topped by the responding officer, Jeronimo Yanez, being acquitted of the crime.
Yet, Castile’s loved ones look to make the best out of his tragic death by keeping his legacy alive. As a school nutrition supervisor, Castile would frequently dish out his own cash to pay students’ past-due lunch bill, ensuring they could eat.
Now, according to CNN, a charity ran in his name continues Castile’s philanthropy by erasing children’s lunch debt. By donating $35,000 to the school district, Pam Fergus, the Metro University educator who runs the Philando Feeds the Children charity with her students, has made it possible for every child enrolled in all of St. Paul’s 56 public schools to eat.
And with this check eliminating the students’ outstanding balances, the organization achieved its stated goal of “no parent of the 37,000 kids who eat meals at school need worry about how to pay that overdue debt.” This is especially significant because without the debt being paid, a student’s caregiver cannot submit the necessary paperwork needed to apply for free and reduced/need-based lunches resulting in a continuous cycle.
“They just keep accruing the debt,” Fergus explained. “Everyday getting (further and further) into debt.”
Yet, through Philando Feeds the Children, Fergus and others have not only allowed students – some of which owed as much as $1,000 – the opportunity to receive a daily meal, they also proved that even though he is no longer able to physically contribute, Castile’s message did not perish.
“Philando is STILL reaching into his pocket, and helping a kid out,” Philando Feeds the Children’s YouCaring page reads. “One by one.”