A fundraiser to eliminate school lunch debts in the name of Philando Castile has been so successful that the organizer doubled the goal to $10,000.
Castile, 32, was a nutrition supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori in St. Paul known affectionately by the kids as "Mr. Phil."
He was fatally shot by a St. Anthony police officer while sitting behind the wheel during a traffic stop in July 2016 in Falcon Heights. Castile's death became national news and a source of outrage in part because his girlfriend live-streamed the aftermath of the shooting on her cellphone. "Justice for Philando" remains a rallying cry for protesters against police violence.
Pam Fergus, a psychology professor at Inver Hills Community College, is listed as the founder of the fundraising effort on youcaring.com. Her explanation is that the J.J. Hill school is "several thousand" dollars in debt. Some kids fall behind on their payments for lunches, which can cost about $400 for the school year for an elementary student.
Castile supervised the J.J. Hill food program and saw the kids every day. "He knew their names and their diets," Fergus wrote. As of Thursday evening, the "Philando Feeds the Children" fund reported a balance of more than $7,000.
The aim of the fundraiser is to provide a lasting connection. "Please help Philando continue to feed his kids," Fergus wrote.
The fundraiser was successful so quickly that Fergus doubled the goal to benefit as many schools as possible.
Valerie Castile, Philando's mother, pledged to match the final donation amount, Fergus wrote.