Publishing company Penguin set up a Zoom meeting for Obama and Rashford to talk about how important it is to give back to and build up the community.
“I didn’t start off with the thought that I was going end up being the president of the United States,” Obama began, when speaking about coming of age and his book A Promised Land.
“If I had more talent, I would have probably preferred to be a professional athlete like Marcus,” he joked.
Obama talked about the young people he’s encountered, including Marcus - who he says is ahead of where he was when he was 23-years-old.
Obama said that doing positive things, even if they are small, still makes a difference. “It’s the accumulation of people doing positive things over time that makes us a little bit better with each successive generation,” he said.
Rashford said afterwards: “I mean, it’s quite surreal, isn’t it? I’m sitting in my kitchen in Manchester, speaking to President Obama. But immediately, he made me feel at ease,” he said.
He also noted that they both had “aligned” experiences in their youth that made them into the men they are today, “adversity, obstacles and all.”
Last year, Rashford created a campaign to eradicate child food poverty in the United Kingdom during the pandemic.
The soccer icon petitioned for the British government to continue providing free lunches (“a meal a day”) to more than 1.7 million children during the holiday season. He also spearheaded a cooking initiative and food education program to help children and families called Full Time Meals. He also released a book titled You Are a Champion: How to Be the Best You Can Be.
Reportedly 2.3 million children experienced food insecurity from August 2020 to January 2021.
Check out the full conversation between former President Barack Obama and Marcus Rashford on the Penguin Books UK YouTube channel below.