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"Sometimes we didn't even have a piece of bread", Marcus Rashford recounts his childhood

"There were times when there was no food, so you would just go to sleep. The people who were closest to me knew the situation my family and I were going through, but not my teammates or my coaches." The Manchester United striker looks back on his past as a poor child and his current fight for food security for children.

Marcus Rashford is currently playing for Manchester United but is also squad for the England national team.

He pledged to end his career as an international activist for social justice and the fight against food insecurity that affects children.

His commitment to providing free school meals in England during the holidays and other support for low-income families has led to major changes in government policy.

Marcus Rashford: Feeding Britain's Children, which will air Monday on BBC One - the 23-year-old takes us through his family life and his campaign to fight child food poverty.

"Sometimes we didn't even have a piece of bread" - The Rashford Story

Rashford's mother, Mel while working as a cashier at a bookmaker, took another job in the store. "I would finish my shift and go back to cleaning," she said, adding, "I used to do the dishes on Saturdays too."

Mel said that she sometimes served food to her children, but she didn't have enough for her.

“Sometimes we didn't even have bread in the house,” she says. "But I wasn't telling someone I was having difficulty, it was embarrassing."

Rashford visits Wythenshawe - the area in southern Manchester where he grew up. He reflects on how local businesses have supported him and his family.

“When they knew my mom was at work, they just let me have a serving of chips or whatever,” he says.

Rashford joined Manchester United at the age of seven. Four years later, he moved into club accommodation.

“It was a big decision that had to be made,” says Mel. "But since I was working nights, there wasn't really someone to take care of him."

Rashford credits his mother for instilling the values ​​he is proud of, and she has been heavily involved in his efforts to tackle food poverty during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mel says: "Marcus offered me accommodation and I sometimes sit there crying, thinking about our story."

Rashford says: "I think in sport you have to have something behind you that pushes you."

"When you come from a place where you struggle and suffer, most of the time it turns into a source of motivation."

Rashford's campaign began after the UK was quarantined due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.

He started working with FareShare to raise funds to provide meals to vulnerable people.

In June, he told the BBC that around £20 million had been raised to provide three million meals.

He then wrote an open letter to MPs, urging the government to reverse its decision not to provide free school meals during the summer vacation. At the time, around 1.3 million children from underprivileged backgrounds were entitled to free school meals in England, and the government had supported them during the first lockdown in April.

Rashford was driven by his own experiences.

“The system was not designed for families like mine to be successful, no matter how moms struggled for work,” he wrote.

Rashford points out that it was not his character to speak openly about such personal situations, but he thinks it was necessary.

"The people who make the decisions - have they been through these things?" he asks.

Shortly after Rashford made his letter public, the government reversed its decision.

Mel said she was "over the moon", adding "I must have called her twenty times!"

"Breakfast Club grown from 30 to 70 kids" - Rashford returns to school and meets with charities

The campaign did not stop; the film shows Rashford as he lobbies for additional support.

In touching scenes, he visits his elementary school, Button Lane.

Ole Gunnar his coach considers Rashford as an essential part in his tactical apparatus

The manager, Emma Roberts, tells him that she is very proud of what he does. Rashford talks to students and shares his stories of the lifelong friends he made at a breakfast club.

Jackie Jones, school safety officer, describes how the number of families seeking support from the breakfast club has increased since the start of the pandemic.

“The breakfast club has grown from around 30 to 70 kids,” she tells Rashford. "It used to be families whose parents worked, but today they are families who cannot and do not have the means or the money to feed themselves."

Rashford also visits a convenience store in south London that works with charities to redistribute surplus food from supermarkets to local low-income families.

They report that the waiting list for families who use their services during the summer has grown and they are concerned about what will happen when the voucher system that allows them to use them ends.

"It's so insensitive" - ​​the campaign continues in winter

In September, Rashford formed a task force made up of major UK food brands and supermarkets.

Together, they called for three policy recommendations from the National Food Strategy to be funded by the government as soon as possible: expanding free school meals to reach more children, expanding current food programs and activities during school holidays and increase the value of Healthy Start vouchers - which help pregnant women and parents of children under four - to reach an additional 290,000 people.

The favorably responded government reports that it has already increased support for local communities.

“It was almost like there was no emotional sensitivity,” Rashford says. "They cite things that they've been doing for six years, but if those things had worked, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing."

“This is what poverty looks like”

A petition set up by Rashford calling on the government to provide free school meals in England during school holidays reached one million signatures in October. A Labor motion on free school meals during holidays in England was debated in the House of Commons, but the motion was defeated.

"Have any of the members of the government who are talking about it had a life that is limited to having only the means to buy food and pay the bills?" Rashford asks.

"I doubt they went through this. The way they talk about it is so callous. To me, it's like they don't have enough understanding on the matter."

In the aftermath of the vote, countless businesses, councils, charities and others from across the country came to show their support and offered free meals to struggling families during school vacations.

Mr Rashford used his social media account to advertise the organizations involved.

“Seeing so many people doing it on their own, across the country - for me it was just a proud moment,” he says.

I'm glad we've come to this point "- the Prime Minister's appeal to Rashford ... what next?

After enormous public pressure, the government decided to offer additional support to families in difficulty during the winter.

In one incredible moment in the film, Rashford receives a personal phone call from Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlining the changes his government was going to make.

"I guess you just played Everton," the PM said, before asking if he scored. A modest Rashford replies that he received a pass and that his mother was teasing him for missing a header.

Prime Minister Johnson goes on to outline his government's plans to support vulnerable families in England during the winter.

They include a £170million Covid winter grant scheme to feed the most vulnerable, £ 220million to provide extra food and activities for children during school holidays, an additional £16million for children. food distribution charities and an increase in the value of Healthy Start vouchers.

A £170million fund will be distributed through the councils, of which at least 80% will be spent on food aid and bills.

Rashford is taking matters into his own hands. And it doesn't seem to stop there.

"I'm glad we've come to this point," he said. "But I can't help but think about what the big picture looks like."

Content created and supplied by: Biltz (via Opera News )

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