Philando Castile charity pays off entire school district's student lunch debt
© Getty

A charity set up in honor of Philando Castile, the African-American school nutrition supervisor who was killed by a police officer at a traffic stop in 2016, announced this week that it had paid off the lunch debt for all of the students in the school district Castile worked in. 

According to the post, 37,000 kids at all 56 schools in Minnesota's St. Paul Public Schools had their debt from lunches cleared.

"That means that no parent of the 37,000 kids who eat meals at school need worry about how to pay that overdue debt," a post on the fundraiser's website read. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"Philando is STILL reaching into his pocket, and helping a kid out. One by one."

CNN reported on the $35,000 donation, which covered families whose debts piled as high as $1,000.

"They just keep accruing the debt, every day getting (further and further) into debt," Metro State University educator Pam Fergus told CNN. 

Fergus hopes the campaign, which has raised just over $110,000 so far, could someday help children all across Minnesota.

"I don't know how much it would take to help the whole state of Minnesota," Fergus said. "There is no end goal. Basically, I want a million bucks in there."

"Across the country, people are discussing 'lunch-shaming,' " Fergus wrote in an open letter to Castile shared on the fundraiser's website. "We are discussing the embarrassment a child suffers when parents cannot afford lunch. Your spirit is moving to change that issue."

Castile's family received a $3 million settlement from the city of St. Anthony, Minn., last year over the shooting of Castile the year before.

The police officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted last year of second-degree manslaughter, as well as two counts of intentionally discharging a firearm under circumstances that endanger the safety of another person.

Castile was known for using his own money to help cover students' lunch costs when they couldn't afford food.