Marcus Rashford has written a passionate letter to MPs pleading for the government to extend the food voucher scheme for vulnerable children into the summer holidays.
The Manchester United striker argues that without free school meals growing up he may not have made it as a footballer and fears other talents may be lost.
Rashford wrote: “The Government has taken a ‘whatever it takes’ approach to the economy – I’m asking you today to extend that same thinking to protecting all vulnerable children across England. I encourage you to hear their pleas and find your humanity. Please reconsider your decision to cancel the food voucher scheme over the summer holiday period and guarantee the extension.This is England in 2020, and this is an issue that needs urgent assistance. Please, while the eyes of the nation are on you, make the U-turn and make protecting the lives of some of our most vulnerable a top priority.”
Through his work with FareShare, Rashford has helped the charity raise more than £20m. Food banks and soup kitchens were not alien to us; I recall very clearly our visits to Northern Moor to collect our Christmas dinners every year.
“This Summer should have been filled with pride once more, parents and children waving their flags, but in reality, [90,000-capacity] Wembley Stadium could be filled more than twice with children who have had to skip meals during lockdown due to their families not being able to access food. As their stomachs grumble, I wonder if those 200,000 children will ever be proud enough of their country to pull on the England national team shirt one day and sing the national anthem from the stands. Ten years ago, I would have been one of those children.
“As a black man from a low-income family in Wythenshawe, Manchester, I could have been just another statistic. Instead, due to the selfless actions of my mum, my family, my neighbours, and my coaches, the only stats I’m associated with are goals, appearances and caps. I would be doing myself, my family and my community an injustice if I didn’t stand here today with my voice and ask you for help,” He added.
Harry Maguire said in May: “He leads by example with his actions. I mentioned quite a few months ago that I feel he’s someone that you’d look at and say he’s got the potential to be captain material at Manchester United. He’s been doing a lot of work to feed children in Manchester over the COVID-19 period, he’s been given an award by the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester. He’s been feeding 2.8million kids per week which is unbelievable. That just shows what kind of character he is.”