February is also known as Black history month. It’s the best time to commemorate the contribution to sports and the society of people of color. And I’m gonna do it by mentioning a man that needs to be talked about more. This is not just because he is a great football player, but because of what he is doing outside of the football pitch: Marcus Rashford.
The young forward took the football world by storm in 2016 when he scored twice on his debut against Midtjylland in the Europa League. He then did the same thing when he made his Premier League debut against Arsenal. Rashford scored also on his first Manchester derby debut, Champions league debut, and his England debut.
Fly Over Sports Podcast: Episode 32 – Fly Over Sports Podcast
But, that’s not the case in this article. What people should admire Rashford most for is his “Food poverty” activism. In October 2019 he started the “In the box” campaign with Selfridges. The idea of the program was to give essentials to homeless people over the Christmas period. He and his mom visited homeless shelters to give out the boxes personally.
In March 2020, when the whole world “shut down”, Rashford teamed up with various charity foundations to deliver meals to those in Greater Manchester who were no longer receiving their free school meals, as well as children in community centers. On the 11th of June, Rashford announced that the charity reached three million children across the whole country. After Queen Elizabeth II appointed him Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), Rashford vowed to continue and to expand his program. His demands were for the expansion of the free school meal program and the provision of meals and activities during school holidays.
Conservative MPs rejected the call for an extension of free school meals over the school holidays until Easter 2021. But the young Englishman got big support from the business, charities, and local councils. Along with them, supporters of his charity program are former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, billionaire Michael Moritz, and “The Times” newspaper.
For the importance and the recognition across the country, we can mention the fact that days before the Liverpool – Manchester United derby, Liverpool fans discussed if they should put a Marcus Rashford banner. It didn’t happen. But the fact that Liverpool fans considered perpetuating one of their arch enemy’s player should say enough.
Let’s hope Marcus Rashford keeps the good work and keeps expanding his charity events. The future is ahead of him, he’ll be not only a Manchester United legend but a legend of the fight against poverty. The football world needs more young players like him, showing the world that you can be a great example both on and off the pitch. A real modern-day role model!