Having lived off food vouchers while growing up, Manchester United‘s Marcus Rashford is well aware of the distress of fighting hunger as a child. It is this experience that has inspired the midfielder to be an advocate for hunger relief programs.
During the pandemic alone, he helped raised £2o million for food distribution charity FareShare. He is a decorated activist and has been acknowledged by UK’s Prime Minister for his “contribution to the debate around poverty.”
However, it is this same government that has decided to put a dent in his plan to afford free school meals to little children.
Remember when I said I was going to need your help…
For the millions who do not have the platform to be heard.
Let's stand as a 'United' Kingdom to #endchildfoodpoverty
Sign the petition today: https://t.co/FvvpO6JYWX
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 15, 2020
Marcus Rashford had earlier created a petition to the government that suggests plans to end child food poverty. Included in this petition was a three-point plan from the National Food Strategy which is; expanding free school meals, providing meals and activities during the holidays and expanding other schemes in place to prevent child hunger.
He put this petition on his Twitter page and in less than 24 hours more than a hundred thousand people, the minimum requirement to turn a petition into a legislative debate, had signed. The signatures would eventually surpass two hundred thousand, but this was not enough to sway the government in favour of the demands.
When the question of the scheme and why it was rejected was brought up, Boris Johnson said: “It’s not for schools to regularly provide food to pupils during the school holidays.”
This was discouraging to hear no doubt, however, Marcus Rashford looks to be much more undeterred than the government of the UK is. He noted that he wasn’t pleased with the government’s response but will keep pushing no less.
We won’t accept any less than these 3 asks.
This is a matter of urgency to stabilise the households of millions – unemployment, end of furlough, personal loss, illness…
200k signatures – the British people care. I would urge those in power to demonstrate that they do too… https://t.co/g4igHTifSS
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 16, 2020
Luckily he seems to have a lot of supporters, as fans of his work, both on the football field and on the activism frontlines have come out to lend their voices to his end hunger scheme.
This is very disappointing from @BorisJohnson @10DowningStreet. We need a long-term plan to combat child food hunger, especially given 32% of families have had a drop in income since March. @obr_uk predicts 336,500 more workers facing food insecurity due to rising unemployment. https://t.co/zyhoHRfxkv
— Robert Halfon MP -Working Hard for Harlow- (@halfon4harlowMP) October 15, 2020
Happy to confirm today we’re making £11m available to guarantee free school meal provision during school holidays up to & including Easter 2021.
Thanks to @MarcusRashford for helping spread this news.
— Kirsty Williams (@wgmin_education) October 15, 2020