7 Times Marcus Rashford Has Championed Kindness Off The Pitch

The Manchester United player successfully campaigned for children to get free school meals this summer.

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At just 22 years old, Manchester United player Marcus Rashford has had a pretty inspiring career. He’s climbed high at one of the UK’s top football clubs, is considered one of the best attacking players in the country, and is constantly using his celebrity status as a force for good.

Most recently, the striker campaigned for children to have free meals this summer, forcing a government U-turn in a matter of days after they cut the food voucher scheme over the summer holidays. It was personal to him: the footballer spoke of his plight as a youngster growing up and knowing what it’s like to go hungry, relying on food banks.

His call to action wasn’t about politics, it was about helping vulnerable children – and he won. Now, parents will be able to claim food vouchers for 1.3 million children in England during the six week holiday.

After news broke of the victory, Rashford tweeted to MPs: “This was never about me or you, this was never about politics, this was a cry out for help from vulnerable parents all over the country and I simply provided a platform for their voices to be heard.

“I stand proud today knowing that we have listened, and we have done what is right.”

It’s not the first time he’s championed kindness off the pitch, and it won’t be the last – he told the BBC there are “more steps that need to be taken” in fighting hunger.

Here are just a handful of the lovely things he’s done for other people.

He helped children get meals in lockdown.

Before campaigning for children to have free meals this summer, Rashford helped raise more than £20 million for FareShare, a UK charity fighting hunger and food waste, after an initial target of £100k. He worked with them to supply food to children who usually rely on school meals.

The England forward told Sky Sports at the time: “I didn’t know how high the numbers were of kids not eating at home other than school meals. That number kind of shocked me.

“And then I remember speaking to a friend who was saying there was an opportunity where we can help these people and FareShare allowed us to make it work. I don’t think I’ve actually ever done something at such short notice before.”

He’s been helping kids keep fit during lockdown.

The Manchester United striker appeared on Celebrity Supply Teacher this month to help kids keep fit during the lockdown. Ahead of his debut, he asked PE teachers on Twitter to give him guidance. “I obviously know how to warm up but what else do I need? Help please,” he tweeted. “I want to get this right.”

Needless to say, he smashed it – and there were plenty of excited children tuning in to exercise with him, too.

He signed up for sign language lessons after a young fan asked him to judge a competition.

The footballer received a letter from a seven-year-old fan asking him to judge a World Book Day poetry competition back in February.

“The deaf children in Manchester will write poems,” the letter read. “Please can you pick the winners! And give out prizes if you can?”

Rashford didn’t just agree to judge the competition, he also decided to take sign language lessons so he could interact with the children whose poems he’ll be judging. He plans on meeting them face-to-face once it is safe to do so.

He helped make a cancer survivor’s dream trip to Old Trafford a reality.

Last year, Rashford teamed up with Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand to help make one fan’s dream come true.

US-based lifelong Manchester United supporter, John Burk, was told his cancer was in remission in September 2019, so his friends and team mates from the Hilton Head Wanderers soccer club in North Carolina raised $1,000 to send him to Manchester to see his favourite club play.

Burk’s friend contacted several Man Utd players asking for their help – and Rashford replied offering tickets for Burk and his friends. He then asked Neville, who owns the Hotel Football complex outside Old Trafford, to provide accommodation. The trip was set – and topped off with a 3-1 win to Man U.

Burk and his friends also got to meet Rashford after the match, while Ferdinand provided dinner reservations for the fans and sent a personal video message too. Lovely stuff.

He gave money to trick-or-treaters on his birthday.

Journalist Simon Austin claimed his eight-year-old daughter and her friends had been trick or treating when Marcus Rashford pulled up in a car and a woman in the passenger seat asked them to sing ‘happy birthday’ because the footballer had turned 21.

The kids did just that, and he gave them £20 each.

He ran a Christmas shoebox campaign to help the homeless.

The footballer teamed up with Selfridges for the In-The-Box campaign last year and encouraged people to fill shoeboxes with essential items like hats, gloves and toiletries.

As part of the campaign, he delivered 300 boxes to homeless charity, Centrepoint.

He visited children in hospital after the Manchester terror attack.

After the horrendous Manchester Arena terror attack in 2017, Marcus Rashford and fellow United player Jesse Lingard paid a visit to those injured by the bombings in hospital.

The pair handed out signed shirts and spoke to people about their recovery. They’ve since been back to local hospitals to visit patients over the Christmas period and deliver presents.