Manchester Utd forward Marcus Rashford has said he is 'blow away by the number of local businesses stepping up in response to the footballers free school meals campaign entitled #ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY.
The footballer started the drive for the provision of free school meals after the UK Tory government made the highly controversial decision to refuse to extend school meal vouchers through the holidays.
The vote has triggered one resignation from a member of the Conservative Party who voted against the government and with the Labour party on the proposal.
According to The Food Foundation, more than 1.4 million children experience food insecurity during the holidays and 6.3% of children are worried about going hungry during the upcoming October half-term.
Rashford has been a vocal campaigner for reducing child poverty, his own experience living through childhood hunger and poverty serving as motivation for his efforts.
As reported by The Sun, Rashfords mother Melanie would often cry herself to sleep at night over money-related anxieties as she struggled to feed her five children on her full-time minimum wage earnings.
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, Rashford said.
When Rashfords gifts for football became apparent, his mother pushed for him to go to Manchester Uniteds youth academy a year early, as the academy included catered accommodation and would mean that Rashford would have consistent access to food for the first time in his life.
He has previously proposed plans to the UK government to reduce child hunger which were denied, though the striker has earned an MBE for his campaigning efforts.
In response to the recent vote result, Rashford has begun tweeting various offers being made by local businesses, restaurant chains and councils to fill the voucher scheme deficit and offer school meals themselves.
To the Twitter community, keep sharing these posts via #endchildfoodpoverty
Every child should be going to bed tonight feeling like they DO matter. Overwhelmed and thankful
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 23, 2020
Blown away by news of local businesses stepping up to fill the voucher scheme deficit during the October half term. Selflessness, kindness, togetherness, this is the England I know
Add #ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY to your tweets so I can track them. I will share as many as I can
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 22, 2020
The campaign has garnered serious attention over the past few days, with celebrities and politicians alike chiming in to offer their support while harshly criticising the UK government for voting 322 to 261 to reject the plan to provide meals to hungry children.
Former footballer and BBC Sports commentator Gary Linekar tweeted approvingly at the swell of support for the free school meal on Rashfords timeline, saying: People uniting to help others rather than the tribality and hatred that has torn us apart.
The timeline of @MarcusRashford shows what this country is truly about. People uniting to help others rather than the tribality and hatred that has torn us apart. We can have different views, political or otherwise, and still be respectful and kind. Be a mate, dont hate.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 23, 2020
Linekar had previous broken BBC impartiality guidelines to express his disgust at the move to vote against the extension of free school meals. He said: Yesterday they voted against helping to feed our hungriest children during a pandemic. Never thought Id tweet that.