The England striker and impassioned food poverty campaigner who caused a government U-turn this summer.
Thank goodness, then, for the good surprises when they come – even if the reasons they have arisen are dire. And, specifically, three cheers for the philanthropic might and determination, as well as the sensitivity and care, of Marcus Rashford.
It all began during the initial lockdown when the Manchester United forward teamed up with poverty and food waste charity, FareShare, helping to raise £20m for those children missing out on the free school meals they would have been entitled to but, as a result of school closures, were not getting. The initiative reached some three million children across the nation. It was, then, a marked success.
But this charitable triumph begged a glaring and urgent question – one which Rashford asked the government directly in an open letter: what would it take to end child poverty? It took just one day for that rallying cry – which garnered support from the likes of Gary Lineker and Sir Keir Starmer – to prove the catalyst for a change in policy, which saw the government allocate £120m to extend free school meals into the summer holidays for those children in need.
View this post on Instagram
I know you guys haven’t heard from me in a few days. I’ve been trying to process what is going on in the world. At a time I’ve been asking people to come together, work together and be united, we appear to me more divided than ever. People are hurting and people need answers. Black lives matter. Black culture matters. Black communities matter. We matter. #justiceforgeorgefloyd #justiceforahmaudarbery #justiceforbreonnataylor
In September, Rashford went on to set up a taskforce with several UK food brands in an attempt to tackle child food poverty. For him, the cause is personal: the youngest of five siblings, he grew up in Wythenshawe, south of Manchester, and while his mother worked extremely hard, there wasn’t always enough food to go around, which necessitated the family to go to food banks from time to time. From this lived experience, he understands well how irresponsible and unfair it is when MPs tweet suggestions that parents unable to feed their children are failing them.
We adore his Instagram account, which mingles football with advocating for social justice, and serious helpings of both drive and humility in equal measure. And for all he did, and continues to do, for every one of those three million children in need, and for being one of the most inspirational figures of 2020: Marcus Rashford, you’re our hero.
By Nancy Alsop
Instagram Hero Of The Week: Museum of English Rural Life
Instagram Hero Of The Week: Barack Obama
Instagram Hero of The Week: @jagosdipgjourney