England and Manchester United striker, Marcus Rashford has been honored by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his campaign against child poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 22-year-old forward was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), in the Queen’s Birthday Honors list, approved by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
Rashford made an impact during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic when he campaigned for the government to allow about 1.3 million children to claim free school meal vouchers in England’s summer holidays during the coronavirus pandemic.
The move forced the British government to reverse their decision in June, and agreed to continue funding meals for poor children over the summer holidays.
In a statement, Rashford said: “I’m incredibly honoured and humbled. As a young black man from Wythenshawe, never did I think I would be accepting an MBE, never mind an MBE at the age of 22. This is a very special moment for myself and my family, but particularly my mum who is the real deserving recipient of the honour.
“The fight to protect our most vulnerable children is far from over. I would be doing my community, and the families I have met and spoken with, an injustice if I didn’t use this opportunity to respectfully urge the Prime Minister, who recommended me for this honour, to support our children during the October half term with an extension of the voucher scheme, as the furlough scheme comes to an end and we face increased unemployment. Another sticking plaster, but one that will give the parents of millions of children in the UK just one less thing to worry about.
“Let’s stand together in saying that no children in the UK should be going to bed hungry. As I have said many times before, no matter your feeling or opinion, not having access to food is NEVER the child’s fault.”
Manchester United said they were “delighted” to see the player’s work off the pitch had been recognised.
“Everyone at Manchester United is hugely proud of Marcus for the work he has been doing to tackle food poverty among vulnerable children,” a club statement read.
“His campaigning has raised awareness of a crucial issue and made a positive difference, and we are delighted to see his efforts being recognised with this honour.”