Inver instructor’s crowdfunding project raises $75,000 to pay off school lunch debt
Like many people around the world, Pam Fergus, a psychology instructor at Inver Hills Community College and Metropolitan State University, was deeply affected by the death of Philando Castile, the cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul, Minnesota. Philando was shot and killed by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony police officer, during a traffic stop in July 2016.
Pam saw the opportunity to help the children devastated by the loss of their friend. She created a service-learning project for Metro State students in her Introduction to Diversity and Ethics in Psychology class. The crowdfunding project, Philando Feeds the Children, was originally developed to raise $5,000 to pay off the $4,000 school lunch debt at J.J. Hill.
As of October 17, 2017, Philando Feeds the Children on YouCaring, has raised more than $75,000 from 2,000+ donors with new donations continually arriving.
“Our current goal is to raise $100,000 and pay off the lunch debt for all St. Paul elementary schools and beyond,” Pam said. “Many students can’t afford to pay for their lunches. Philando often paid for lunches with his own money. Our long-range goal is to create a fund with $1 million.”
by Pam Fergus
In memory of Philando Castile, this site is collecting donations to pay off elementary school kids’ lunch debt. The J.J. Hill School is several thousand dollars short. Some kids get free lunch, but many kids come from families with incomes slightly above the cutoff. 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!
Philando’s death affected every one of those kids. This fund hopes to provide the kids with a lasting connection to Mr. Phil. Please help Philando continue to feed his kids.
Many people wonder if this site and venture have been approved by Philando’s family. Absolutely! I talked with Philando’s mother, Valerie Castile, before this site was created. We have her approval and blessing. I send her the comments. I keep her updated about our success. Mrs. Castile is an amazing woman who dedicates herself to justice and peace. I am grateful to know her and to do this to honor her beloved son.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!! The donations and sharing of the cause is amazing!
The goal continues to rise because we continue to challenge ourselves and the greater community to make this fund permanent. Mr. Phil will feed his kids for as long as we can raise the money.
Philando Feeds the Children in the news…
“Philando Castile fundraiser raises more than $72,000, eliminates students’ lunch debt”
By Crystal Bonvillian/Cox Media Group National Content Desk • Updated: October 17, 2017 • 12:26 p.m.
“College students raise more than $70,000 for Philando Castile lunch debt fund”
More than $60,000 left to help cover families’ debts at other St. Paul schools.
By David Chanen/Star Tribune • October 14, 2017 • 7:46 a.m.
“Psych class raises $63K to pay off St. Paul school children lunch debt”
By Kathryn Ganfield/The Metropolitan • September 2017
To learn more about Philando Feeds the Children, contact:
Inver Hills Community College
Metropolitan State University