MARCUS RASHFORD has formed a taskforce with some major food brands to help tackle hunger among children, the Manchester United and England forward said on Tuesday (1).
Rashford had earned widespread praise after the 22-year-old successfully campaigned for school food vouchers to be provided over the summer holidays in Britain, revealing that he had relied on such support as a boy.
Announcing the child food poverty group that includes Aldi, Asda, Tesco, Deliveroo, Sainsbury’s and Kellogg’s among others, Rashford wrote an open letter to Parliament endorsing three policy recommendations of the National Food Strategy.
The points include the expansion of free school meals to children whose families are on universal credit, expansion of holiday provision to all children on free school meals, and increasing the value of Healthy Start vouchers.
“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,” Rashford told the BBC.
“You should feel free if you want to ask for help…hold your head up high and, if you need help, go and get help.
“…we had to think about the best way to do it, to think about how these families can eat long term and not have issues. We wanted to do it the best way…introduce the best people into our group, and see if using them (we) can push it even more.”
Rashford stressed that “the issue of child food poverty will have devastating effects on the stability of our country” if quick action was not taken.
“I spoke to a mother recently who, along with her two young sons, is currently living off three slices of bread a day — soaking them in hot water and adding sugar, hoping that the porridge consistency might better sustain the hunger of her one-year-old child,” he said.
“I spoke to a family who were sleeping on one mattress on the floor – the reason being, just like any good parent would, they had had no choice but to sell every valuable they owned to put food on the table for their children.
“All of this, a result of unforeseen circumstances that are entirely out of their control, such as redundancy and illness.
“This is the true reality of England in 2020.”
Notably, Rashford had also helped to raise around £20 million with charity Fareshare UK to supply meals to struggling families during the Covid-19 pandemic.