Marcus Rashford Is More Than Just A Footballer. He's A Role Model For People Of All Ages
On April 2 2020, Health Secretary Matt Hancock called on Premier League footballers to "play their part" and take a pay cut to look after others who are less fortunate. 75 days later and, after forcing Boris Johnson to make a U-turn and commit £120 million to free school meals, Marcus Rashford has done more than "play" his part. He has inspired a generation.
After the Manchester United and England striker fought tooth and nail on a subject he cares so passionately about, having received free school meal vouchers as a youngster while his mum worked to put food on the table, it was announced on Tuesday afternoon that free school meals are now being made available for around 1.3 million underprivileged children and their families.
The news came just a day after Boris Johnson rejected the plea to reconsider the decision not to extend the voucher system but in his typical tenacious mantra, Rashford vowed not to give up. The health and welfare of the nations poorest and most vulnerable were in jeoprady and a footballer, of all people, was spearheading change. Not the goverment. A 22-year-old footballer.
As a result of the decision being overturned, Rashford, who also helped raise around £20 million to feed youngsters during the COVID-19 pandemic, has not only raised awareness of the problems many children face on a daily basis but he has helped inspire.
All kids eligible for free school meals in term time in England will now be given a voucher and it's all down to his integrity, hard work and persistence.
"I don't even know what to say." he said, moments after the news was announced. "Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020."
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The thing is, Rashford's campaign to feed kids over the summer is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of his contribution to society in these difficult times.
Last year, he launched a Christmas box campaign to encourage the public to support Manchester's growing homeless community and partnered with Selfridges to support shelters around the area. Members of the public were encouraged to fill a shoebox of essential items for those in greater need over the festive period and many benifited from the scheme.
"Last Christmas I prepared and delivered some gifting boxes around Manchester for those in need, with the help of my family." he said. "It was one of the most gratifying moments of the year, so when planning activity this time around I was adamant that we would reach more people in a more effective way."
In more recent times, Rashford agreed to judge a poetry competition at a deaf school after he received a letter from a young fan, who invited him to his school for the event. To prepare for his visit, the England international actually taught himself sign language so he could communicate with the children.
Another incredible and humble gesture that points to the perfect role model.
Marcus Rashford is more than just a footballer. He is a true inspiration who has used his position to make a real difference. And for that we salute him.