(Reuters) - Manchester United players Marcus Rashford and Jackie Groenen have won the PFA's Community Champion award for their social welfare activities and contribution to the club's foundation this season, the Premier League side announced on Thursday.
Striker Rashford earned widespread praise after the British government bowed to pressure from his campaign to ensure school food vouchers would be available for struggling families in England during the holidays.
The 22-year-old recalled how the vouchers helped his family when he was young and, through the Fareshare UK charity, he helped raise around 20 million pounds to supply meals to struggling families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm thrilled to have won the PFA Community Champion award in what has been a very important season for me, both on and off the pitch," said Rashford, who also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester for his campaign.
"Building on those childhood experiences is a big reason why I've been so passionate about the campaign this year to try and tackle child poverty."
Dutchwoman Groenen, the first overseas player in the women's team, frequently visited the Girls' Regional Talent Club to coach young women footballers and also became an ambassador for the Johan Cruyff Foundation earlier this year.
"It's an honour to win this award in my first year at Manchester United," the 25-year-old midfielder said.
"As players, it's so important to give back and to be a good role model for young people. I'm just really happy I could be involved and do my bit to help inspire the next generation."
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Chennai; Editing by Toby Davis)