Marcus Rashford’s role in the ‘end child hunger’ movement. The division between those in charge and those who are struggling has again rised.
If we’re honest, we can all agree that most of the public don’t see footballers in the best of lights. I produced a write-up on this last year, where I spoke about Raheem Sterling and his experiences with the media whilst also delving further back talking about the racism that footballers have experienced in bygone eras by the ‘fans’ in the terraces. (https://ethanhoijord.com/2019/10/11/racism-in-football/) However, it is now time to talk about another fight involving another great black sportstar … Marcus Rashford has united the country by attempting to end child hunger across England and this has made everyone, except the MP’s who try their best to disagree with him, proud. This case has shown that injustice is still rife in England and many have become emotional and angry as this case is vital to those that find themselves living underprivileged lifestyles.
First of all, Marcus Rashford is a footballer for Manchester United and he is a successful footballer at that. He is a footballer that I have always idolised, due to my ‘soft spot’ for the historically famous ‘Red Devils’. He has scored many goals at the highest of levels and has represented his nation, England, on more than forty occasions. His Manchester United debut came in 2016, in the UEFA Europa League against FC Midtjylland, he has since scored seventy-one goals in 221 appearances as he continues to strive for his boyhood club. He rose through the United academy ranks, the club taking him in 2005 to join the club at school levels. However, my ‘idolisation’ has grown through the actions that he is currently taking to help his country’s people off the ‘field’ and although he has scored many goals after his debut, his goal now is to end child hunger in England and it is a goal that is causing action to stick his name on the hearts of the English people … this means more than football, the saying ‘football rivalries aside’ is one that certainly celebrates the young forward’s off-field decisions.
England has always been a country where it’s population has experienced some struggle and unrest, there has always been the fight between those in charge and those who serve those in charge through taxes and their general work lives. There has also always been child hunger, yet in a year like this it is essential that more is done to be of help. The year has been disastrous; worry, loneliness and depression is rife following the outbreak of COVID-19 which was believed to be caused by a Chinese man eating a ‘dodgy’ bat from a Wuhan food market. Yet it is obvious that much isn’t being done by those who have power to do so. As I have stated above, there has always been unrest between the upper and working classes yet at the moment this division is ‘great’. Recently, the ‘IPSA’ proposals have stated that the MP’s could get a £3,000 pay rise under new proposals. It is one that will excite MP’s as they will believe that they deserve the extra money. However, this has understandably frustrated the English public as the MP’s and those in power continue to use a poor proposal of money to ‘help’ different industries such as the hospitality industry in a time that sees their workers struggle as well as the places they work for due to the restrictions forced on them due to the pandemic. Talking about hospitality, this is a horrendous time for children who are suffering with a shortage of food at their homes. One of the great aspects of reopening schools was that the education system allows some to have ‘free’ school meals. However, now the October and Christmas breaks from education are looming, more time is going to be spent away from these ‘free’ meals as they are forced to stay with their families at home who have to do their best to afford bills and food etc. Families are struggling and MP’s should be doing a lot more to help people.
What exactly is child hunger? This is a pretty simply answered question, it is hunger that is experienced by children as well as the families who are tasked with feeding them. If you are reading this and you believe that there aren’t many families struggling in this area. It is essential that you look and start to understand the statistics behind this issue. Thus, let’s take a look at this horrendous situation faced by many …
Facts and statistics: child poverty/hunger (UK)
In 2018/2019 there were 4.2million children living in poverty. To put that into context, picture a classroom and the children inside. Nine of the thirty children you are picturing, they are facing child poverty.
44% of children living in ‘one-parent’ families are in poverty. Lone parents face a higher risk of poverty due to the lack of an additional earner.
46% of children from black and minority ethnic groups live in poverty.
Childcare and housing are two of the costs that take the biggest toll on families budgets – Child hunger can be placed in this area.
The charity ‘UNICEF’ estimates that 2.5million British children, 19%, live in food insecure households.
Earlier this month, Marcus Rashford was awarded the MBE (member of the order for the british empire) during the Queen’s 2020 birthday honours. This was a recognition of his successful campaign to provide ‘eligible’ schoolchildren free meals during the coronavirus lockdown. This campaign is called ‘End Child Food Poverty’.
Last Wednesday, the Conservatives again beat the wishes of the Labour Party in parliament. This time, the wishes of the labour party was to provide disadvantaged children with food vouchers during school holidays up until the Easter school holidays of 2021. The ‘winning’ MP’s argued against ‘increasing dependency’ through freebies and solutions labelled as a ‘sticking plaster’. Rashford has expressed his upset at this vote, urging Boris Johnson to discuss a solution.
In June, Rashford raised around £20million with ‘FareShare’ in order to supply around 3million meals to underprivileged children. The Manchester United Forward also wrote to MPs and spoke with PM Boris Johnson.
In a new petition, Rashford has been campaigning for three provisions.
- To expand free school meals to all under-16s where a parent/guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit or equivalent benefit – According to the BBC, this would result in an additional 1.5million children between ages 7-16 being covered.
- For meals to be provided even during vacations.
- To increase the food voucher for pregnant women from the current £3.10 per week to £4.25
Thus, being the main face of this project to feed more children and to cut down and hopefully end child hunger/poverty Marcus Rashford has been placed into the hearts of the English public and has certainly done a lot of great and vital work to help this issue. For that, he has been celebrated globally including by the children themselves who have produced work in school to celebrate his actions. In a school in Birmingham, ‘Anderton Park’, a teacher has renamed a classroom the ‘Rashford Room’ and the pupils created a tribute to the man himself stating that ‘Marcus is determined, polite, thoughtful, does not boast or show off, which is why we admire him so much. He does not give up. He inspires us to be great citizens and to use our voices calmly but firmly. He loves his mum and knows he wouldn’t be where he is today without her strength’ with the use of pictures next to the words to illustrate the meaning.
I asked questions, in order to get an opinionated view on the issues that surround the child hunger topic, of a young student who would like to work in politics as a member of the Labour Party. The young man’s name is ‘JJ’.
Do you believe that child hunger in the UK is a ‘great’ problem that the country faces? ‘I think poverty, more specifically child poverty is the biggest issue facing our country. I find it remarkably horrifying that we have a society in which there are children who through no fault of their own, by any means, are oblivious to where their next meal is going to come from.
What do you think of the government’s actions towards child hunger?
‘I think the government has acted in a horrendous way within the voting of the recent bill. I think it goes to show the tremendous lack of empathy shown by the conservative MP’s who voted ‘against’, most of these MP’s come through private education and have no idea what it would be like living in this much struggle’.
What do you think of Rashford’s actions, how successful do you believe his actions have been?
‘When you look at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the government asked footballers to do their bit. Marcus Rashford should be hailed as a hero for his work in recent months. He was successful once in getting free school meals during the summer and the fact that so many have shown solidarity towards this movement and the fact that many small businesses have got involved shows that he’s had success with the recent campaign as well despite the parliament bill being voted down’
What do you think the next actions should be to help this issue?
‘I think the next stage has to be a for the government to perform another U-turn on this. It’s great that local businesses have shown solidarity to these children over this half term but we’re about to enter one of the toughest winters in peace time and without government support some of these families may struggle to see it through’
Thank you ‘JJ’, for your answers and your time.
To those who have read this, thank you for doing so. The overall message of this write-up is to respect and love each other as we face such a difficult year and to do your best you can when you see situations of poverty and hunger.
Child hunger matters, so does mental health in these very uncertain times … Be Nice!