With hundreds of thousands of Marylanders out of work since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been forced to choose between keeping their lights on and putting food on the table for their families.
But Ravens standout left guard Bradley Bozeman and his wife, Nikki, have been doing their part to help the Baltimore community throughout these tough times by holding biweekly food drives at Mount Pleasant Church and Ministries in East Baltimore during the past seven months to help those in need, and they’ve given away more than 1.5 million meals.
“It’s crazy to look back like only seven months ago and we’re 1.5 million meals in, and it’s just crazy to think what you can do if you just put your mind to it,” Nikki said on Glenn Clark Radio March 9.
The couple has partnered with wholesale food companies like Safeway and H&S Bakery to put together food boxes to give out to families in Baltimore. Twenty-four percent of Baltimore City households don’t have enough food to eat, according to the Bradley and Nikki Bozeman Foundation. Because of that, the Bozemans try to help families put food on the table for their kids as well as at-risk seniors.
Once the pandemic struck, the Bozemans decided food insecurity was an area they should address in addition to their mission to end bullying.
“Our agency really has helped us and said, ‘OK , where can we pivot?'” Nikki said. “And we talked about food. A lot of these kids just didn’t have food. And we have a huge senior population that comes and gets weekly meals because they’re either too afraid to go into grocery stores or they’re in the vulnerable population.”
The COVID-safe food giveaway — the most recent of which occurred at Mount Pleasant March 9 — allows for residents to drive up and have the food boxes placed directly in their trunk without any need to get out of the car. The Bozemans have experienced such great success with the food drives that they are shifting from biweekly to weekly giveaways and hope to start a delivery service soon.
“It’s been awesome,” Nikki said. “I think that it just really shows our ability to change and adapt to just things that we can help our community.”
The Bozemans have further solidified their connection with the Baltimore community by partnering with the Network For Good software company to send out thank-you videos via Cameo to those who donate food for the drive.
“It’s been really cool to be able to engage with people that way, and it’s just different,” Nikki said. “We usually write handwritten thank yous. But I think a video is really cool.”
For Bradley, his reputation in the community is garnered from his play on the field, too. The 6-foot-5, 325-pound left guard has been one of the Ravens’ top offensive linemen of late, starting all 32 games and playing in every offensive snap from 2019-2020.
With the Ravens having experienced some struggles at center position in 2020 — Matt Skura and Patrick Mekari both dealt with some difficulties handling the position — Bradley has become even more valuable to the team. The Ravens have the option of moving Bradley, who played center at Alabama, to the center position for 2021 depending on how the offseason shakes out.
Regardless of Bradley’s position, both would love to be able to stay in Baltimore, the community with which they have become so connected. Bradley is entering the final year of his rookie deal.
“We love the city. We’ve made the city home, and we want to stay,” Nikki said. “We want to be a Raven. We love the organization.”
More information about the Bradley and Nikki Bozeman Foundation, including how to donate and volunteer for food drives, can be found here.
For more from the Bozemans, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credits: Glenn Clark/PressBox