Man Utd star Rashford forms taskforce with food brand giants to combat child food poverty

Marcus Rashford Manchester United 2019-20
Getty Images
The striker's charity drive was one of the feel-good stories of a coronavirus-dominated summer, and he is now hoping to take it to the next level

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford has formed a taskforce with England's food brand giants to combat child poverty across the country.

Rashford campaigned to extend free school meals for vulnerable children earlier this year, and the government eventually allowed the initiative to continue outside of term time amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 22-year-old wrote an impassioned letter to members of parliament while drawing on his own experiences as a child, and received a positive response from Great Britain's prime minister Boris Johnson.

However, the England international still feels that many families are in need of extra help, and has appealed to MP's to look into the issue even further.

The likes of Aldi, Asda, Co-op, FareShare, Food Foundation, Kellogg's, Lidl, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose have all united in a bid to help push through the National Food Strategy's three main policy recommendations.

These proposed changes centre around expanding free school meals and holiday food and activities, and increasing the value of 'Healthy Start' vouchers, with Rashford hopeful that Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will adjust the country's budget accordingly.

"Within two days of sitting with these families, I could better understand how food poverty is contributing to social unrest," the United striker's latest open letter to the government reads.

"Watching a young boy keeping it together whilst his mother sobbed alongside him, feeling like he has to step up to protect his family and alleviate some of that worry. He was nine-years-old.

"I know that feeling. I remember the sound of my mum crying herself to sleep to this day, having worked a 14-hour shift, unsure how she was going to make ends meet.

"That was my reality and thankfully I had the talent to kick a ball around to pull us all out of that situation. Many can’t find that way out and aren’t being offered a helping hand to do so.

"Those most at risk aren’t in a position and don’t have the platform to scream help from the top of the rooftops but, for those ready to speak, my intention is to offer them the platform to do so, and for those who aren’t, I will continue to be their voice and act on their behalf."

Rashford told the BBC of how his summer charity drive had merely been a "short-term solution" to tackling childhood hunger, while outlining his aims to affect change on a far wider scale with the help of a larger team of experts.

"We had to think about the best way to do it, to think about how these families can eat long term and not have any issues," he said.

Article continues below

"We wanted to do it the best way we could, introduce the best people into our group, and see if using them [we] can push it even more."

Rashford added on the importance of challenging long-held social stigmas: "I feel like at times people think they are being looked down on if they ask for help, and I think in this generation... that is something that should change.

"You should feel free if you want to ask for help for anything. Hold your head up high and if you need help go and get help."