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16 June 2020, 11:42
Marcus Rashford penned an open letter to MPs to shine the light on UK food poverty, where he urged the government to not cancel the food voucher scheme over the summer holidays and has been supported by a number of stars.
Manchester United player Marcus Rashford shared a heartfelt open letter to the government where he asked them to reconsider their decision to cancel the food voucher scheme over the summer holiday period.
The England player has helped to raise £20million with charity FareShare UK, who the 22-year-old has actively supported over time, in a bid to meet its lockdown objective of being able to supply three million meals to vulnerable children.
He is now urging MPs to take back their decision and admitted that he benefitted from free school meals as a child, while a number of celebs have thrown support behind Marcus and praised him for using his platform to speak out on important issues.
Rapper and BRIT winner Dave followed suit by reposting the open letter on to his Instagram story, as well as boxer Anthony Joshua, who have both previously been known to actively show their support and speak out about important issues in the UK, including the stars both attending the Black Lives Matter protests in a stand against racism and the injustices towards those in the black community.
The open letter shed light into the footballer’s upbringing as he detailed how ‘the system was not built for families like his to succeed’.
He wrote: "On a week that would have opened Euro 2020, I wanted to reflect back to 27 May 2016, when I stood in the middle of the Stadium of Light in Sunderland having just broken the record for the youngest player to score in his first senior international match. I watched the crowds waving their flags and fist-pumping the Three Lions on their shirts and I was overwhelmed with pride not only for myself but for all of those who had helped me reach this moment and achieve my dream of playing for the England national team.
“Understand: without the kindness and generosity of the community I had around me, there wouldn’t be the Marcus Rashford you see today: a 22-year old black man lucky enough to make a career playing a game I love. My story to get here is all-too-familiar for families in England: my mum worked full-time, earning minimum wage to make sure we always had a good evening meal on the table. But it was not enough. The system was not built for families like mine to succeed, regardless of how hard my mum worked."
He continued: “As a family, we relied on breakfast clubs, free school meals, and the kind actions of neighbours and coaches. 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. It’s only now that I really understand the enormous sacrifice my mum made in sending me away to live in digs aged 11, a decision no mother would ever make lightly.
“This summer should have been filled with pride once more, parents and children waving their flags, but in reality, 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 (200,000 children according to Food Foundation estimates). 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, and you would never have heard my voice and seen my determination to become part of the solution.
“As many of you know, as lockdown hit and schools were temporarily closed, I partnered with food distribution charity FareShare to help cover some of the free school meal deficit. Whilst the campaign is currently distributing three million meals a week to those most vulnerable across the UK, I recognise it’s just not enough. This is not about politics; this is about humanity. Looking at ourselves in the mirror and feeling like we did everything we could to protect those who can’t, for whatever reason or circumstance, protect themselves. Political affiliations aside, can we not all agree that no child should be going to bed hungry?"
Marcus went on to say that 'during this pandemic, people are existing on a knife’s edge', as the letter continues, which you can read in full, above.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said the Prime Minister will respond to Marcus’ letter ‘as soon as he can’, as Labour MPs will use a debate in parliament, on Tuesday, to call for an extension of the free school meal voucher scheme.