Marcus Rashford, footballer and campaigner.
Image: Xavier Laine/Getty Images
By Rachel Thompson2020-10-23 10:34:16 UTC
Marcus Rashford is a name that will go down in history.
The Manchester United footballer has spent much of this year campaigning to extend free school meals to disadvantaged children during school holidays in England.
Earlier this week, the government voted against the motion to feed kids through the winter holidays until Easter 2021 — a move that has understandably provoked deep anger throughout the nation. Children living in poverty receive free school meals during term time, but not during school holidays.
After the government defeat, businesses up and down the country have stepped in and offered free meals to children. Rashford has been tweeting out each business offering to do so alongside their locations.
Blown away by news of local businesses stepping up to fill the voucher scheme deficit during the October half term. Selflessness, kindness, togetherness, this is the England I know 🏴Add #ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY to your tweets so I can track them. I will share as many as I can ♥️
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 22, 2020
Child food poverty is a cause close to Rashford’s heart. While campaigning earlier this year, the footballer said, “What families are going through now, I once had to go through that same system.”
“Now that I’m in the position that I’m in, it’s very important to me to help the people that are struggling,” he added.
These extraordinary acts of kindness come at a time when businesses around the country, particularly those in the hospitality sector, are struggling due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Following the government vote, Rashford issued a statement vowing to continue the campaign against child food poverty, and paid tribute to food charities around the country.
“The real superstars in this country can be found in the heart of most cities, towns and villages, working tirelessly to support our most vulnerable across the UK,” said Rashford. “As FareShare and other food-related charities approach one of the toughest winters on record, with demand higher than ever before, it is important that I stay connected and lend my support wherever it is needed.”
Rashford’s campaigning proved successful earlier this year, when he got the government to reverse its decision on food vouchers, so that 1.3 million children in England would be able to claim free school meal vouchers during the six-week summer holidays. Rashford was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year for his campaigning.
While Rashford tweeted out the scores of businesses offering to help, he and his mum Melanie Maynard also paid a visit to a FareShare food bank in Greater Manchester. The new depot is to be named after Maynard and will be known as “Melanie Maynard House.”
All that can be said, really, is: Thank you Marcus Rashford.