As well as being a superstar for Manchester United and England, Marcus Rashford is using his platform to help others less fortunate than him.
Last year, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Rashford led a campaign to end child food poverty and successfully lobbied the British government to continue providing free school meals during the holidays. He also launched a book club to get disadvantaged children reading more earlier this year. And the 23-year-old can count former US President Barack Obama as one of his admirers after all his hard work. On a Zoom call organized by publishers Penguin, Obama hailed Rashford for being “a lot further ahead than I was at 23.”
“They’re already making changes and being positive forces in their communities” Obama said speaking about the young people he meets. “Even if you do something positive on a small scale, that’s making a difference, and it’s the accumulation of people doing positive things over time that makes us a little bit better with each successive generation.” Obama and Rashford were on the virtual meeting to discuss the impact young individuals can have on society. They both spoke about the importance of people in prominent positions giving back to their local communities, as well as the positive impact reading can have, as it has on both their lives.
Rashford’s campaign to tackle child food poverty in the UK led to 1.7 million vulnerable children being supported by a $736 million (£520m) government scheme. He’s done it at the same time as being one of Manchester United’s most pivotal players, helping it to second place in the Premier League and runner up in the Europa League. Rashford was awarded an MBE for services to vulnerable children during the COVID-19 pandemic. And for the 44th president of the United States, Rashford’s own personal experiences have helped him become an excellent example of someone with a position of prominence providing a service to those in need. “From what I’ve read about what Marcus is doing,” Obama explained, “he’s taken his own experiences and realized: ‘Well, look, I’ve now been blessed. I now have the good fortune of being this prominent footballer and people pay attention to what I say. How do I give back? How do I take what I know about living in modest means, not having enough to eat all the time — there are kids like that who are feeling that same way — what can I do for them?’