The humble, passionate 22-year-old from Wythenshawe in Southern Manchester deserves every praise he gets – despite his footballing loyalty in our own city – for a remarkable intervention that will result in 1.3 million of the country’s most vulnerable children having more food available this summer.
Marcus Rashford is one of England’s most promising footballers – but he has probably never performed more powerfully than this week off the pitch.
The remarkable footballer vows to continue the fight for starving children who desperately need him, writes Liam Thorp
Fortunately, Rashford has once again stepped up his efforts and used the power of his profile and his very personal experience to embarrass Boris Johnson and bring him to the turning point.
One might have thought that the fact that this effort was necessary to keep the children fed throughout the pandemic would have set off alarm bells at Downing Street about the grim reality facing families in this crisis – but no.
Something that has been lost is the fact that Rashford, through its partnership with the charity FareShare, has already fed millions of children during the coronavirus crisis – with a remarkable sum of £20 million already raised.
It is the first responsibility of government in a democratic society to protect and secure the lives of its citizens – but here we had a government willing to see children without meals for an entire summer until they were publicly shamed into a reluctant descent.
When you think about it, it is remarkable and equally depressing that such an intervention was ever necessary.
We know that there are already fears in Whitehall that pressure is being exerted to maintain the free voucher system in future vacation seasons – good.
Funnily enough, poverty does not stop during the vacations – it gets even worse when families no longer have the lifeline of a school breakfast club or a meal voucher.
It was nice to hear the 22-year-old defiantly declare that his campaign work will not end here – families across the country will continue to need his leadership.
The reason Rashford’s campaign was so powerful was because it was based on real, painfully lived experiences, something our government is sorely lacking right now.
In Merseyside, nearly 70,000 children were living below the poverty line before the horrors and hardships of coronavirus struck our region.
Boris Johnson may have claimed that child poverty is decreasing this week, but statistics simply don’t support him, as Merseyside’s child poverty figures have risen by about 15,000 since 2015.
These statistics do not even take into account the cost of housing – a huge problem for so many families here.
In some parts of the district about one in two children lives in poverty and this number will only increase as more families are forced into an unstable and highly criticized universal credit system in this crisis.
Here you can find the food banks in your area.