When I drove to Wythenshawe, my hometown, a few days ago, a sheet of paper on the welcome sign said: "A Humanity United".
I couldn't have put it better myself. "Pride of Britain," they said.
Believe me, I was no prouder than when I saw people answering my call and offering help and services to support our most vulnerable children.
I've been in awe of all of you, especially business owners who have opened their kitchens.
These companies have been hardest hit by the pandemic, but in the true spirit of the community they have found something to give.
When I drove to Wythenshawe, my hometown, a few days ago, a sheet of paper on the welcome sign said: "A Humanity United," writes Marcus Rashford (pictured with his mother).
Because of your compassion, children woke up during this half-time. They felt like it was okay to ask for help and felt that they were important.
Because of you, fear and fear have been replaced with warmth and understanding.
Because of you, tears and sleepless nights were no more.
People like 89-year-old Flo Osborne, who got up at 4:30 a.m. most days to bake cakes in her tiny kitchen in Harwich, Essex, and businesses like the Bubble Inn in Derby, Peggy & # 39; s Cafe in Basildon, Wagon and Horses in Chester, Toast in Herne Bay, Oceans of Fun in Nottingham, the Handsworth Inn in Sheffield, Gray & # 39; s Coffee Shop in Rothwell and the Bridge Cafe in Coventry.
Forgive me for not listing them all, but there are so many. Your kind actions have positively influenced the next generation and demonstrated the power in empathy.
This week, thanks to your donations, FareShare is delivering seven million meals to the most vulnerable
For too long we've shopped into a narrative that we are a divided nation. Disagreements about Brexit, Covid, football and party politics. North-South divides.
But it's all just an invention of our imagination because when it comes to our children we will always stay united.
When I joined Manchester United at the age of six, the rivalry with Liverpool FC was the first thing I learned.
And of course the Manchester derby. We against them.
But not today. We put loyalty aside and fight for something much greater than any of us.
I was so proud to have “rival” clubs standing side by side to support children with groceries and hot meals.
Nothing comes before the welfare of our children. I fight for Liverpool like any other city in Britain. Child food poverty has no catchment area.
Those in power have taken steps to support our most vulnerable, but if the corporations, youth clubs, soccer clubs, schools and charities that these children see every day have felt the need to open their kitchen at this halfway point, we should keep that in mind it may not be quite enough.
For example, the increase in the universal credit was welcomed, but there is still a lack of 1.5 million children who need vital support due to the cap on the universal credit for two children.
I recently spoke to a teacher who was concerned about a 10 year old girl in her class who kept falling asleep.
She used her free school lunch voucher to take home food for her younger siblings who did not qualify for food assistance. They feared that this would be the only thing they would have to eat that day.
Another teacher who asked a six-year-old about her empty lunch box received a simple answer: "I don't have any." She also didn't have breakfast.
The teacher gave the little girl a hot meal from the canteen, but when she received it, she emptied it into her lunch box.
My training is based on my own experiences and those of my mother, as well as the insights of mothers, fathers, children and carers with whom I have spent time (shown together).
Why? Because she wanted to bring it to her sister's home.
That's not okay, but I've heard hundreds of similar stories.
I have heard the argument that it is not the responsibility of schools to feed children outside of school hours. I agree. Is not it.
But schools do it anyway because they understand the need. School principals have used their own credit cards to buy grocery packages.
I never said I had all the answers.
My training is based on my own experiences and those of my mother, as well as the insights of mothers, fathers, children and carers with whom I have spent time.
Now is the time to work together. These families called for help and we did not listen.
This is not a Covid-19 problem. Before the pandemic, 4.2 million children across the UK were living in poverty.
However, the situation is deteriorating as unemployment rises and working hours are shortened.
Believe me, I was no prouder than when I saw people answer my call and offer help and services to support our most vulnerable children
Since the end of March, 32 percent of households with children have seen a drop in income.
If I'd had a pound for every time I'd heard ridiculous suggestions that some free school lunch coupons be given out on Sky TV, Cell Phones, Crack Dens, and Brothels, we could have funded the solution ourselves.
I spoke to a mother who survived three pieces of bread a day to support her two young sons.
Dip it in boiling water, add sugar, and mix in hoping that the consistency will keep its young just a little longer.
Families who have sold everything valuable to put food on the table now sleep next to their children on the only mattress on the floor.
In the past few months, 900,000 new requests for free school meals have been made.
This week, thanks to your donations, FareShare is delivering seven million meals to the most vulnerable.
We should all agree that no child in Britain should go to bed hungry. Whatever the reason, when it happens it is never the child's fault.
So keep fighting the good fight. When I turned 23 this weekend, I've never been so proud to call myself British – and I'm grateful to all of you. Thank you very much.
Be sure. Be polite!
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