It is only the fifth petition to have ever reached one million signatures on the government petitions website.
The England and Manchester United forward – who was made an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours for his work on child hunger – has also called on Boris Johnson to expand the free school meals programme to more children.
In recent days, the prime minister and his government have faced a huge backlash from the public after the Conservative Party voted down Labour’s motion to implement Rashford’s plan and fund free school meals out of term-time.
The sportsman capped off a remarkable day when he scored his first Manchester United hat-trick and inspired his team to a 5-0 win in the Champions League against RB Leipzig.
Following the game, Rashford said he “can’t stop smiling” as his petition to extend free meals for children into the school holidays passed 1,000,000 signatures.
Also referencing Manchester United’s win against RB Leipzig, Rashford wrote on Twitter: “3 goals, 16 minutes, 1,030,000 signatures.
“Can’t stop smiling, I’ve waited a long time for that. Just wish the fans were in to experience it with me.”
Can’t stop smiling, I’ve waited a long time for that. Just wish the fans were in to experience it with me ♥️https://t.co/FvvpO6JYWX#ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY pic.twitter.com/QJGJxSzTlj
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 28, 2020
The anti-hunger campaigner is to be given the City of Manchester Award on top of his MBE for his work to tackle child poverty.
Rashford was born in Manchester and raised in the Wythenshawe area of the city. Wythenshawe councillor Tommy Judge, who will give the award as his first act in his new role as lord mayor of Manchester, said it was “remarkable” to see him “give a voice to the powerless”.
Today, the @LordMayorOfMcr, Cllr Judge, announced that @MarcusRashford MBE will receive the City of Manchester Award for his 'outstanding contribution to the city', following his Free School Meals campaign.
Wythenshawe & the rest of Manchester is beaming with pride. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/h4t0w9mZKg
— Manchester City Council #StaySafe❤ (@ManCityCouncil) October 28, 2020
The Tories have argued that there is a “whole range of additional support” to make sure children and their families don’t go hungry during the pandemic, as well as alleging that feeding children outside term-time would mean “nationalising children” and suggesting free school meal vouchers “effectively” go to brothels and crack dens.
Hundreds of local businesses and councils have stepped in to fill the gap over the October half term – which began on Monday – volunteering free meals for those in need.
In the wake of the vote in the Commons, 22-year-old Rashford said people must not allow their views to be clouded by politics.
“We talk about the devastating impact of Covid-19 but, if projections are anything to go by, child food poverty has the potential to become the greatest pandemic the country has ever faced,” he wrote on Twitter.
“We must start working together and unite to protect our most vulnerable children.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.