Philando Castile charity pays off St. Paul students’ school lunch debt

People gathered outside the St. Anthony police department to protest their decision to have Jeronimo Yanez return to work on August 19, 2016. Yanez would later part ways with the department after he was acquitted on manslaughter charges in Castile's death. File Photo by Fibonacci Blue/Flickr

March 5 (UPI) — A charity set-up in the name of a Minnesota man who was shot and killed by a police officer has paid the school lunch debt for students at every public schools in the St. Paul area.

Philando Castile was killed in July 2016 by former St. Anthony, Minn., police officer Jeronimo Yanez in a shooting death that was livestreamed on Facebook at the time. Before his death, Castile was a cafeteria worker at public schools in St. Paul who was known to pay the lunch cost for students who couldn’t pay on their own.

“Philando was famous for that,” Pamela Fergus, a professor at Metro State University who runs the charity, told KMSP-TV. “His mother told me that every day he would call her after leaving his job at [J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School] and talk about the kids. Another kid didn’t have the money in his account, so Philando would take $3 out of his pocket and buy that kid’s lunch for the day.”

The charity — Philando Feeds the Children — has raised more than $100,000 by Sunday and Fergus dropped off a check for $35,000 to cover the entire school lunch debt at all 56 public schools in the St. Paul area.

The rest of the funds will be used to cover more school lunch debt at other schools.

“The goal continues to rise because we continue to challenge ourselves and the greater community to make this fund permanent,” a statement on the charity’s website states.


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