Marcus Rashford says he wants to “kill the stigma” associated with asking for support with food and resources.
The Manchester United star appeared on Good Morning Britain on Monday to discuss his ongoing campaign to support children from low-income backgrounds.
The 22-year-old battled against MPs to win the right for free school meals to continue across the summer, and has now united Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Aldi with Deliveroo and charity FairShare to create a taskforce with a long-term vision to prevent child poverty in the UK.
Speaking with Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on ITV, Rashford has said he’s managed to sit with some of the families he’s helped over the past few weeks, and he reiterated the importance of providing support to those who need it most.
Now, the footballer is encouraging anyone who might be struggling to come forward.
“If someone is in a position to help you should be comfortable to ask, we need people to ask for help to get them the help that they need,” Rashford explained.
“I really wanted to kill the stigma of asking for help. I want it to die.”
Rashford also emphasised some of the dangers associated with children not being well-fed.
“If you’re not eating you’ve got no energy, you don’t feel comfortable going to school.
“[Children affected] just sleep all day because they’re physically drained.
“It can be the beginning of homelessness or crime.”
He added: “My mum never got that help when she was younger.
“It just drives me more to to help as much as I can.”
The footballer also responded to a tweet by Tory MP Kevin Holinrake earlier this month, who claimed it was a “parent’s job to feed their children.”
Rashford urged the politician “to talk to families before tweeting.”
“To this day I haven’t met one parent who hasn’t wanted or felt the responsibility to feed their children…” he added.
Rashford’s taskforce is endorsing three policy recommendations of the National Food Strategy.
These include the expansion of free school meals to every child from a household on universal credit or equivalent; the expansion of holiday provision (food and activities) to support all children on free school meals; and increasing the value of Healthy Start Vouchers to £4.25 a week up from £3.10.