Philando Feeds the Children—the crowdfunding campaign launched in 2017 by Pam Fergus, an Inver Hills Community College psychology professor and named for the late Philando Castile—has cleared all student lunch debt in the Minnesota School District. According to reports, the charity has received close to $111,000 in donations, surpassing its initial goal of $5,000.
Fergus wrote on the campaign page:
“St. Paul Public Schools System has 56 schools. K-12. And this fund, Philando Feeds the Children, just paid off the lunch debt for all of them. That means that no parent of the 37,000 kids who eat meals at school need to worry about how to pay that overdue debt. Philando is still reaching into his pocket, and helping a kid out. One by one. With your help. Your donations will fill that pocket for years to come. Thank you for your generosity…. You’ve made an enormous difference in their lives.”
And the campaign doesn’t end here. Fergus told CNN she wants to see the charity continue until families no longer struggle to make ends meet to pay for school lunch. She also wants Castile’s loving legacy to be the first thing folks remember upon hearing his name.
“I don’t know how much it would take to help the whole state of Minnesota,” she said. “There is no end goal. Basically, I want a million bucks in there.”
In October, Philando Feeds the Children made headlines for clearing lunch debt at J.J. Montessori School, where the kids called him “Mr. Phil.”
“We just had this little idea that we were going to help do Mr. Phil’s job and make sure you guys have good lunch to eat every day,” Fergus told the kids at the time. Valerie Castile, Philando’s other added: “We as a community have to work together in order for things to work. This would’ve meant everything to him.”