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Manchester Utd’s Marcus Rashford wins campaign to bring meals to vulnerable children

The return to Premier League football is just round the corner, but Marcus Rashford’s biggest victory of 2020 has been secured away from the football pitch. 

The emergence of social media is fast erasing tired and sweeping views that professional athletes are ‘dim’ and ignorant to matters beyond their sport.

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling has done wonders for minority communities and combating racism in domestic and international football since 2019, heavyweight boxing champ Anthony Joshua took the mic and inspired thousands at a BLM rally in Watford this month, and Manchester United star Marcus Rashford has become a national treasure for his tireless efforts to support vulnerable children during lockdown.

On Twitter, People are calling for a knighthood and have even started referring to the 22-year-old as ‘Sir Marcus Rashford’.

Manchester born and bred, and don’t us United fans let rivals know it, Rashford possesses a rare blend of personal experience and extreme wealth that most philanthropists just don’t have.

Growing up in Wythenshawe, one of Manchester’s poorest districts, Rashford witnessed first-hand the physical and emotional strain poverty can have on entire communities, and the huge impact government schemes make in improving families’ day to day lives. He recalls the memories of having to collect Christmas dinner from local foodbanks every year, and being sent to ‘live in digs’ (shared accommodation) aged just 11.

Today, having amassed a fortune through his immense talents, a grateful Rashford is determined to use his platform to ensure no child goes to bed hungry in Britain this summer and beyond. Like his application to football, this goal has become an obsession.

On Monday, Rashford published an open letter to MPs which he also shared across his social media accounts. In it he called for an extension to a voucher scheme that had previously provided children with free meals during the height of lockdown. This bill was originally intended to support needing students during term time, meaning July would spell its end, but it fell on Rashford to remind Boris and Co that right now these are anything but ordinary times.

Having already raised £20 million with FareShare– a leading distributor of surplus food – since late March, the United fan favourite opted to take the cause nationwide.

Addressing parliament with absolute authenticity, Rashford asserted ‘this is not about politics; this is about humanity.’ He stated that while COVID-19 is affecting charities and businesses worldwide, ‘food poverty is a pandemic’ of its own that has afflicted people for generations, and will continue to do so if we don’t start prioritising marginalised communities.

With an estimated 1.3 million children currently relying on the voucher scheme in the UK, you’ll find no argument from us. Rashford concluded his powerful message by pleading with the government to reverse the decision to end the bill, and to ‘make protecting the lives of some of our most vulnerable a top priority’.

A day later Boris appeared at the coronavirus daily briefing, and announced a new £120 million ‘COVID Summer Food Fund’ to run for the duration of the six-week holiday. While the PM declared Rashford’s heartfelt message was the first he’d heard of the voucher scheme ending, there are troubling rumours circulating that those at Downing Street had planned to refuse the notion of an extension, before being forced into retreating by threats of internal rebellion from Conservative MPs.

Either way, Marcus Rashford’s triumph far transcends the squabbling at Number 10. With lives very much at stake, he managed to create a campaign and bring it to government attention by himself seemingly overnight. This stands as further proof that social media is becoming the key to 1: informing the masses (and apparently the PM) about the complexities surrounding real life issues and engendering a thirst for justice, and two: bringing about vital discourse and change at the highest level.

The lad kicks a ball for the first time since January on Friday… but it’s safe to say he’s already played an absolute blinder.