Marcus Rashford Successfully Lobbies Parliament to Fund £120M School-Meal Program

Rashford is a hero on and off the pitch

Marcus Rashford celebrates a goal
Machester United star Marcus Rashford is as influential scoring political victories as he is at scoring goals
AFP via Getty Images

As good as 22-year-old Manchester United starlet Marcus Rashford is at putting pressure on Premier League defenses, he’s proven to be an even better public advocate, campaigning to extend a free school-meal program for low-income children. Today, the British government announced that the program, which would normally end when the school year ends, will now last through the summer.

“This is not about politics; this is about humanity,” Rashford wrote in a letter to politicians on Sunday. “Looking at ourselves in the mirror and feeling like we did everything we could to protect those who can’t, for whatever reason or circumstance, protect themselves. Political affiliations aside, can we not all agree that no child should be going to bed hungry?”

By convincing the government to provide £120 million in funding for the program (and providing another £20 million worth of meals through his own personal charitable efforts), Rashford is yet another example of the power of sports, especially during this pandemic. When athletes like Kyrie Irving and Dwight Howard talk about how they plan to leverage their public platform and influence, Rashford is proof of concept. 

Even beyond Rashford, though, sports figures around the world have been agents of positive change, such as NBA player Bismack Biyombo, who donated $1 million worth of medical supplies to the Democratic Republic of Congo, his home country. On a larger scale, more than 1,000 professional athletes, including mega-stars such as Tom Brady and Drew Brees, signed a petition to end qualified immunity for police officers in America. 

Taken in aggregate, these acts of philanthropy are beyond laudable, yet also slightly unnerving: athletes shouldn’t be responsible for righting a government’s failures. In the end, Rashford is undoubtedly a hero, but the central question remains: Why didn’t Boris Johnson and the British government feel obligated to help starving children in the first place?

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

Win the Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix Experience

Want the F1 experience of a lifetime? Here’s your chance to win tickets to see Turn 18 Grandstand, one of Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix’s most premier grandstands!