Campaign Pays Off School Lunch Debt in Philando Castile's Honor

Crowdfunded campaign recently paid off all school lunch debt in St. Paul
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2018 5:00 PM CST
In this July 6, 2017, file photo, a bouquet of flowers adorns the grave of Philando Castile at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.   (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP, File)

(Newser) – Philando Castile, the Minnesota motorist killed by police during a 2016 traffic stop, was a much-loved meals supervisor at a St. Paul school. He was known to pay for lunches if children couldn't afford them, and now a crowdfunded charity campaign is carrying on that work. The Philando Feeds the Children campaign recently paid off all $102,000 of school lunch debt for the 56 schools in St. Paul's public school system, USA Today reports. A Metropolitan State University professor came up with the idea to crowdfund $5,000 to pay off the lunch debt at the school where Castile worked—but the effort ended up raising, as of this writing, more than $155,000.

Now, "no parent of the 37,000 kids who eat meals at school need worry about how to pay that overdue debt," reads an update on the campaign's website. "Philando is still reaching into his pocket, and helping a kid out. One by one. With your help." The director of nutrition services tells the St. Paul Pioneer Press Castile "was just a lovely person" who truly cared about the students, and the professor who started the crowdfunded charity says those traits inspired her. "It’s really fun to write a check that … pays off something so wonderful," she tells KMSP. The campaign is ongoing and the money raised will continue to help kids in the future.

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