Marcus Rashford would usually be spending his Friday concentrating on a crunch match for Manchester United at the weekend.
But as well as preparing for tomorrow’s clash with Chelsea, the Wythenshawe born star has been taking the world by storm in a different way.
His campaign to provide hungry children, who would otherwise go without during the half term break, has captured the hearts of a nation.
After MPs voted against his campaign in the House of Commons, Rashford took matters into his own hands.
Cafes, pubs and restaurants across the country pledged to ‘stand with Rashford, not the 322’, referencing the 322 MPs who voted against a Labour motion calling on the support for the poorest children to be provided until next Easter.
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And he knows first hand what children are going through.
The 22-year-old, who also took time out to visit a foodbank at New Smithfield Market, has told how his mother relied on free meals and did 14-hour shifts to feed him and his four siblings when he was growing up.
Rashford has spent the day publicising the efforts of such businesses on social media.
Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, announced he was supporting Rashford’s campaign by working with the Co-op to provide 1,000 food vouchers over the half term.
Vouchers can be exchanged for a meal deal in Co-op stores.
Some of our region’s councils have also pledged their support.
Manchester council said free lunches will be provided to all children who qualify, with eligible families receiving a payment of £15 per child for the week.
Salford council is giving £10 a week in vouchers to children who usually get free school meals.
About 10,500 children in Wigan who are entitled to free school meals will receive vouchers worth £15 a week, in an initiative funded by the council.
Rochdale council has also pledged its support, providing £15 Aldi vouchers.
In neighbouring Oldham the council said it wants to make sure ‘no child in Oldham goes hungry’.
In Stockport meals are being provided over half term working with Life Leisure.
Among the businesses who have offered help are Nutters restaurant and The Empire in Rochdale, having pledged to provide 500 free lunches a day during half term week.
The Courtyard in Wigan will be open from Tuesday to Sunday, offering breakfast, dinner or tea for children who would otherwise have a free school meal.
Baker’s tea room in Egerton, Bolton, is offering grab bags for lunch.
While Minikin cafe in Sale said it will provide free lunchs including a baked potato with beans, fruit, snack and a drink.
Here are some of the businesses across Greater Manchester who are pledging to help:
- Coffee Sack, Prestwich
- Baker’s tea room, Egerton
- The Kitchen, Westhoughton
- Khandoker, Didsbury
- Thyme Out Food, Didsbury
- Powerbowlz Manchester
- Nutters restauraunt
- The Empire
- Seven Brothers
- Three Peaks Pizza restaurant
- Impact Catering, Eccles
- Mr Chips, Swinton
- Ate Days A Week
- Minikin art cafe, Sale
- Astoria Bar and Restaurant, Urmston
- 4 Ways Cafe and Sandwich Bar, Leigh
- Union Arms, Tyldesley
- The Courtyard
Here are the Greater Manchester MPs who voted against the measure in the House of Commons earlier this week:
Graham Brady, Conservative MP for Altrincham and Sale West
Chris Clarkson, Conservative MP for Heywood and Middleton
James Daly, Conservative MP for Bury North
Chris Green, Conservative MP for Bolton West
James Grundy, Conservative MP for Leigh
Mark Logan, Conservative MP for Bolton North East
Mary Robinson, Conservative MP for Cheadle
Greater Manchester MPs who voted to support the measure:
Angela Rayner, Labour MP for Ashton-under-Lyne
Graham Stringer, Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton
Yasmin Qureshi, Labour MP for Bolton South East
Andrew Gwynne, Labour MP for Denton and Reddish
Yvonne Fovargue, Labour MP for Makerfield
Lucy Powell, Labour MP for Manchester Central
Afzal Khan, Labour MP for Manchester, Gorton
Jeff Smith, Labour MP for Manchester Withington
Debbie Abrahams, Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth
Jim McMahon, Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton
Tony Lloyd, Labour MP for Rochdale
Rebecca Long Bailey, Labour MP for Salford and Eccles
Jonathan Reynolds, Labour MP for Stalybridge and Hyde
Navendu Mishra, Labour MP for Stockport
Kate Green, Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston
Lisa Nandy, Labour MP for Wigan
Barbara Keeley, Labour MP for Worsley and Eccles South
Mike Kane, Labour MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East