He said dreaming of becoming a footballer was his “escape” from the realities he faced.
The Manchester United star said those who lived near to him looked out for him and his family - adding he was a “product” of that close community in an open letter penned for Dazed magazine.
Rashford said more needed to be done to provide children from poor backgrounds with opportunities and “dreams” as “sometimes dreams are all they have.”
The sports star said he returned to his home area at least once a week as he wanted young people not to see him as “‘Marcus Rashford of Manchester United’, I want them to see me as Marcus. Marcus who lived ‘there’, learned his craft on ‘that’ patch of grass and is now representing his country at the highest level. It’s so important that they see that I had a dream, and my dream came true.
“We have to encourage these children to dream, because unfortunately sometimes dreams are all they have. I remember forcing myself to sleep as a child, just so the feeling of hunger would go away. All I had were my dreams, my escape.”
He said about his local community: “Growing up in Wythenshawe, my community was an extension of my family unit. There was a togetherness. An unbreakable bond.
“The Marcus Rashford you see standing in front of you today is a product of that community. When I finally made it professional, I knew I had a responsibility to open up new opportunities to those who had contributed to my success, to allow children in these communities to see the bigger picture.
“People often refer to Wythenshawe as an ‘underprivileged’ community. Personally, I feel privileged to call it home.”
Rashford said children from similar backgrounds to him were often overlooked - and suggested more needed to be done to “help these children.”
“When I started out in football, I felt 20 yards behind any other child because of where I grew up. Imagine the talent that we are missing out on when underprivileged children don’t have a community like mine around them. Everyone has a role to play here. We need to really look at ourselves in the mirror and ask, ‘Are we doing enough to help these children?’”
Rashford was behind a successful free school meals campaign during the height of the pandemic to ensure the poorest children in the UK still had access to food despite being home schooled. He raised millions of pounds to help poor communities receive vital supplies and successfully lobbied the government to feed vulnerable children during the school holidays.
He said he would not rest until UK child hunger had been eliminated.
“There’s a lot more to be done. I haven’t seen success until there is no child in the United Kingdom going to bed hungry.”
Speaking about how restaurants stepped up to feed children during holidays, he said: “A moment that really touched me in 2020 was seeing everyone work together to play active roles in supporting vulnerable children in their communities.”
“In October, cafes, restaurants and pubs – some of the hardest-hit businesses during the pandemic – were willing to run at even greater losses by opening their doors to those who needed their help. That’s the power of togetherness.”
Read more on dazeddigital.com now. Issue on sale Thursday 27 May