Making an impact on and off the field, Manchester United player Marcus Rashford recently launched a campaign to battle the United Kingdom Government’s plan to discontinue free meals in schools. The English soccer player lobbied for free meals to be distributed year-round by schools, including the holiday intervals.
The new plan introduced by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would halt the distribution of free school meals once the academic term had ended. For many children of low income families, these meals would be their main source of food throughout the day, and stopping the program could lead to dietary disorders. Rashford is a firm believer in providing for the children, as he made it clear that “no matter your feeling or opinion, not having access to food is never the child’s fault.”
Rashford revealed to the public that when he was younger, he had relied on these school meals. Being the youngest of five siblings in a single parent household, he did not always have access to a meal growing up in the Manchester Area. After meeting several families just like his own, he was inspired to use his voice to raise awareness for the cause.
Rashford spent his Covid-19 quarantine planning the campaign, as families were in need more than ever due to the economic impact of the virus. His first attempt to fight the government’s decision was rejected by the British Government, despite other parts of the United Kingdom passing a plan. This did not stop Rashford however, who used his platform on social media to raise money and spread awareness. The British Government then promised to allocate £170 million to local authorities to provide meals, as well as an extra £16 million for food banks all across the country. In addition to the revised Government decision, Rashford on his own raised upwards of £20 million to donate against child poverty, as well as partnerships with many businesses around the country promising to help hand out meals for local residents.
Marcus was recognized by Queen Elizabeth for his excellent work for the vulnerable children of the United Kingdom. Rashford was awarded with the title of MBE, which means he is now an official Member of the British Empire. Rashford quoted that “As a young black man from Wythenshawe (part of Manchester), never did I think I would be accepting an MBE, never mind an MBE at the age of 22. This is a very special moment for myself and my family, but particularly my mum who is the real deserving recipient of the honor.” The efforts of Marcus Rashford have been incredible, especially considering his young age and maturity. Rashford has also used his platform to raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter campaign, including taking a knee and raising a fist before every game. Rashford’s work for the youth and families of the United Kingdom has been exceptional so far, but his work is not finished yet. The future looks bright for the promising player, both on and off the field.