Marcus Rashford’s petition to end child food poverty passed an incredible one million signatures on Wednesday evening.
The online petition, titled ‘End child food poverty – no child should be going hungry’, reached the milestone and continues to rise constantly as more members of the public support the footballer’s campaign.
The news comes after the Manchester United star, 22, hailed ‘superstars’ across Britain on Tuesday night for supporting his campaign for free school meals.
Marcus Rashford’s petition to end child food poverty passed 1 million signatures this evening
The Manchester United star has campaigned tirelessly for free school meals provision
The England striker said: ‘To all the local business owners, to the food bank volunteers, to the teachers, to the carers, to the campaigners, this is your moment.
‘Our children have felt the warmth and the compassion of their community and I am grateful beyond words.
‘We have proved that even when we have little, we still have something to give. I am truly humbled by what I have witnessed over the last couple of days, I couldn’t be prouder to call Britain my home, and to call football my profession.
‘To all of you climbing into bed tonight after a hard day supporting our most needy, I salute you. You are the real superstars. I’m in awe of you all. Thank you.’
The popular 22-year-old paid tribute to ‘superstar’ Britons for all their help and support
Rashford also encouraged people to keep signing up to the petition on Wednesday, tweeting: ‘Let’s take a second to remember that a lot of families in need will not have access to the internet.
‘They can’t sign petitions or scroll down my twitter. Their voices cannot be heard so we have to use ours to communicate on all of this amazing local help.’
His comments come after he appeared to force Boris Johnson at another climbdown on free school meals during holidays as furious Tories accused the PM of ‘shooting himself in both feet’ by bungling the policy.
Mr Johnson is preparing to pour hundreds of millions of pounds into holiday clubs in an attempt to defuse the row.
It is too late for the scheme to be implemented over half-term, but Mr Johnson is considering putting it in place for the Christmas holidays.
Rashford (pictured with his Mum Melanie) only created the petition online on October 14
Rashford only created the petition on October 14, but after just two weeks the e-petition has reached the one million mark.
It comes with the tag-line: ‘Government should support vulnerable children & #endchildfoodpoverty by implementing 3 recommendations from the National Food Strategy…
‘To expand access to Free School Meals, provide meals & activities during holidays to stop holiday hunger & increase the value of and expand the Healthy Start scheme.’
However, despite his remarkable work and calls for him to be named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in December, the 22-year-old looks set to miss out on the prestigious award.
Rashford is set to miss out on the 2020 BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist
Sportsmail understands Rashford, the odds-on favourite, is likely to miss out based on long-standing criteria for the award which state that the shortlist must reflect ‘sporting achievements’.
A judging panel will meet next month to decide the shortlist and, while the criteria for 2020 has not yet been confirmed and the panel have the right to make alterations, it has been set in stone for several years.
It is not anticipated to change unless there is a reaction to public pressure.
It is understood Rashford would be in the running for the Helen Rollason Award in December
BBC bosses are aware of the potential for a backlash if Rashford is not included and would look to honour him in some way during the show on December 20 — which is being held in Salford without the usual large audience because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Rashford would be in the running for the Helen Rollason Award, given for ‘outstanding achievement in the face of adversity’, or a new prize could be created to recognise his bid to end child hunger.
The SPOTY shortlist is decided by a panel of usually 12 people, which includes representatives from the BBC and the sports industry and is chaired by Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport.