Marcus Rashford is urging MPs to go out and meet those who have had the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit withdrawn.
The footballer was speaking as he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester for his campaigning work to end child poverty. He described it as a 'bittersweet moment' coming on the day after the uplift was scrapped amid fears that more people will be plunged into financial crisis.
In an interview with BBC Breakfast, he said: "I go back to when the Covid situation first started, it was something that nobody in the country was prepared for. We didn't know how bad it was going to be, we didn't know how long it was going to be. And we're still in that situation.
"It's time that representatives got out into communities like mine. It's time they saw first-hand the true measure of struggle. Covid-19 can no longer be used as an excuse."
Marcus Rashford's latest intervention has been welcomed by Rev Andrew Yates, social responsibility officer for the Diocese of Truro. He co-ordinates anti-poverty initiatives in Cornwall and tells Premier that the footballer's lived experience is important in helping raise awareness.
"We have to be grateful for Marcus. I think his Christian faith is partly what's motivated him and we need to give him praise in the work that he's doing. I think he's so effective because he tells the story. He's been there, he tells what it was like when he was growing up. We have to try and get those stories out and we've got to change this.
"I'm a great believer in the power of story. Jesus spent all his time telling stories, so other people might know and share the story, the experience of what it's like. I think that's how our heart might change. People can be moved differently."
Rev Yates says he hopes Challenge Poverty Week which begins on Monday 11th October will encourage people to listen to the stories of people experiencing poverty and be motivated to tackle the issue.
"We are asking people, church groups, community groups, to invite your local MP or Councillor to come and see the work that you are doing, showcase what you're doing, so they can see and learn, but also highlight the need. Why are people turning up at your doorstep? Why are people turning up at the food bank? What's the reason behind it? I think if we can understand the reasons, we can then work on ways of tackling them. So we're challenging people to go and visit and learn about what's happening.
"You could write to your MP, write a personal story. Write about someone that you know. Next time you're in the supermarket, get those extra goods and put them in the food bank collection box. Just look around at your neighbours . Go and knock on the door - perhaps not on your own though, go with someone else and say 'Is there anything we can do? Can we collect food for you? Can we help in any way?' "
The government says the Universal Credit uplift was always a "temporary measure, designed to help claimants through the toughest stages of the pandemic.
It claims as the economy starts to bounce back its focus is on helping people back into high-quality, well-paid jobs.