England and Manchester footballer Marcus Rashford has been awarded an MBE for his efforts in fighting child food poverty, according to BBC News.
The 22-year-old, whose MBE was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List on Saturday, campaigned to allow 1.3 million children to claim free school meal vouchers during the summer holidays of this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the UK went into lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus in March, the government announced that the scheme of providing vouchers to children who qualify for free school meals would not be continued into the summer holidays.
Mr Rashford wrote an open letter to MPs, highlighting his own experiences of relying on free school meals and food banks when he was growing up in his hometown of Wythenshawe, Manchester. Thanks to his efforts, the government’s decision was reversed, enabling millions of children in England to access free school meals over the holidays.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Rashford said: ‘It’s a nice moment for me but personally I feel like I’m still at the beginning of the journey that I set out to try to achieve.
‘I think what I would like to do now that I’m in this position is just speak directly to the prime minister and really ask for the vouchers to be extended until at least October half-term because I think that’s what the families need.’
On Sunday, Mr Rashford debuted special Nike Mercurial football boots at the England Nations League match against Belgium, which feature messages from 40 children at three schools. Marcus will then donate the boots to charities supporting him in his fight against child poverty, including FareShare and Trussell Trust.
Image source: The Sun