The mother of Philando Castile, the cafeteria worker who was shot and killed by a police officer in 2016, is helping students pay off their lunch bills.
Valerie Castile delivered a check for $8,000 to Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope, Minn., last week to clear lunch debts for seniors preparing to graduate, reports CBS affiliate WCCO.
Castile told WCCO the issue of unpaid lunch bills was something Philando was passionate about. “He’d pay for children’s lunch meals out of his own pocket instead of letting a child go hungry that day he would pay for it himself,” she said.
The check was provided from the Philando Castile Relief Foundation, set up after his death to help victims of gun violence and police violence, said the report.
Last year, the charity Philando Feeds The Children, which was created in his honor, raised more than $130,000 to pay off the lunch debts for every school in the St. Paul, Minn., school system.
Philando Castile’s death captured national attention three years ago, sparking protests against police brutality. The incident was streamed on Facebook Live by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds.
More: Dashcam video shows Philando Castile shooting
The police officer who killed Castile, Jeronimo Yanez, was later found not guilty of manslaughter and other charges.
School lunch debt is a growing problem in the U.S. According to the non-profit School Nutrition Association, a national survey found more than 75% of school districts reported having unpaid student meal debt at the end of the 2016-17 school year.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.