Marcus Rashford once told a teammate he’d help give back to society if he ever could. Now he’s leading an extraordinary campaign raising millions to fight child poverty.

Marcus Rashford once told a teammate he’d help give back to society if he ever could. Now he’s leading an extraordinary campaign raising millions to fight child poverty.

  • Jesse Lingard says Marcus Rashford told him when he was younger that if he ever got into a position to give back to society, he would.
  • Now, the Manchester United forward is leading an extraordinary campaign which has raised millions to fight child poverty in England.
  • "He's always been into giving back and helping others," Lingard told Insider. "He said when he was younger if he could get into a position that he could help others, he would."
  • Lingard added of his Manchester United teammate: "He's a real role model for the younger generation."
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Manchester United's Jesse Lingard says teammate Marcus Rashford told him when he was younger that if he ever got into a position to give back to society, he would.

Now, the Manchester United forward is leading an extraordinary campaign which has raised millions to fight child poverty in England, and provide kids with desperately needed food.

Rashford's fight began in June when he penned an open letter to the government asking it to reverse its decision to not to fund free school meals for impoverished children in England throughout the summer holidays amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

In England, about 1.3 million children from households which earn less than £7,400 ($9,400) a year after tax are eligible for free school meals.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson took note of Rashford's plea and extended the government's school meals scheme for three months.

In October, the government then voted not to extend the scheme further, claiming it had already given £63 million ($82 million) in funding help financially disadvantaged families, in addition to increasing welfare support by £9.3 billion ($12.1 billion).

In response, Rashford started a petition to prompt the government into another u-turn, which has picked up nearly a million signatures in a matter of days.

Businesses across the country have also aided Rashford's fight by starting their own campaign to provide free school meals during school holidays, with the 22-year-old retweeting the locations of those who have offered to help.

So far, hundreds of independent businesses have stepped up, while big chains such as McDonald's and supermarket Morrisons have also promised to help.

"He's been brilliant," Lingard told Insider of Rashford during an interview in July, after the government's first reversal.

"He's always been into giving back and helping others. He said when he was younger if he could get into a position that he could help others, he would.

"Now he's raised so much money and helped so many people out. He's a real role model for the younger generation, who can really look up to him. 

"He's so humble and such a great lad."

Rashford, who received an MBE earlier this month for his work, tweeted on Monday: "I heard a couple of days ago that going in to the debate the feeling was that the British public wouldn't care about the issue of child hunger a second time around.

"Boy did you prove that theory wrong.

"Those who have rallied around our communities, please continue to do so, you are the real pride of Britain. Some of our children will be waking up anxious this Monday morning, let's show them that there is never any shame in asking for help. Thank you."

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