Philando Castile Legacy Fund Buys Lunch For Students Who Can't Afford It -- Just Like He Used To

by Cassandra Stone
Originally Published: 
Image via YouCaring

After his senseless murder, a new fund will help Philando Castile’s generosity live on

At the school where he worked, Philando Castile was loved and respected by students and coworkers alike. Before being shot and killed by a police officer at a traffic stop back in 2016, Castile worked as a cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in Saint Paul. When students couldn’t afford to buy their lunch, Castile would often pay for it out of his own pocket.

Inspired by the kindness and generosity he demonstrated in his life before he was senselessly murdered, a new fund seeks to continue his legacy.

The fund, “Philando Feeds The Children,” is raising money to cover the cost of student lunches for kids who aren’t eligible for a free lunch program but can’t afford meals.

“Some kids get free lunch, but many kids come from families with incomes slightly above the cut off,” the site says. “They get behind in payments, and need our help.

“Philando was ‘Mr. Phil’ to the students at J.J. Hill. He supervised their food program and interacted with the kids every day. He knew their names and their diets. He LOVED his job!”

The idea for the fund was coined by Inver Hills Community College professor Pam Fergus, who said she wanted to clear out the lunch debts at Philando Castile’s school.

“His death changed who I am,” Fergus told WCCO News. Stacy Koppen, nutritional services director for St. Paul Public Schools, told WCCO one school year’s worth of lunches for one elementary student can cost up to $400.

The fund has raised nearly $43,000 to help kids in schools all over St. Paul. According to the fund’s site, Valerie Castile, Philandos mother, will match the final donated amount with monies from The Philando Castile Relief Fund.

Amidst the tragedy surrounding the murder of Philando Castile, this fund offers a bit of hope that his kindness will live on through those who mattered most to him: his students.

“Philando’s death affected every one of those kids,” it says on the YouCaring page. “This fund hopes to provide the kids with a lasting connection to Mr. Phil.”

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