Philando Castile’s mother is using her pain to pay it forward.
Valerie Castile is helping to make sure Minnesota school children don’t go hungry. She donated $8,000 to Cooper High School, in order to pay outstanding school lunch debts.
"Most families live paycheck to paycheck, and the last thing they need to be worrying about is how can I pay this debt at the end of the year," Valerie told the Star Tribune.
The money was donated last month on behalf of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation, a non-profit that seeks to help those affected by gun violence.
Valerie says the effort was done to honor her son’s memory. Before his death, Philando worked as a nutrition specialist at a high school in St. Paul.
Valerie says her son would often pay outstanding lunch bills for his students.
"What I'm doing [are] things that my son felt in his heart, and that's children, family and community," she said.
Philando was fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop in 2016. His girlfriend live-streamed the incident on Facebook. His killing sparked outrage and touched off nationwide protests.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez was charged with second-degree manslaughter, among others. A jury acquitted Yanez of the charges, and he later quit the force.