Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford is being hailed a hero, not because of his playing on the pitch, but because of what he has recently done off of it. Thanks to 22-year-old Rashford, 1.3 million children in England will be able to claim free school meal vouchers during the pandemic.
On Sunday, Rashford wrote an open letter to U.K. politicians to urge them to reconsider their position on ending a program to provide free school meals for children from low-income families while schools were closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Following his push, the head of the Department of Education said that the program will continue until year’s end.
A stunned Rashford took to Twitter Tuesday to express his gratitude for what the government has done for the children. "I don't even know what to say. Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020," Rashford said in a tweet following the government's announcement.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised Rashford's "contribution to the debate around poverty.”
Rashford had already helped raise more than £20 million (over $25 million) for food distribution charity FareShare in England during the coronavirus pandemic.
Following the U-turn by the government, other soccer clubs have come out to praise Rashford, including arch rivals Liverpool, who tweeted: “Children in our region will benefit because of the actions of this remarkable role model.”
Italian club AS Roma said on Twitter, “Nothing but admiration for what @MarcusRashfordis trying to do with his platform. Respect from #ASRoma.”
Manchester United tweeted that their player was “a hero” and “inspiration.”