Panthers player, wife fostering relationships between police, Charlotte youth

CHARLOTTE — Carolina Panthers center Bradley Bozeman and his wife, Nikki, haven’t lived in Charlotte long. But the two have already found ways to serve as they attempt to build a stronger relationship between the police in Charlotte and the youth by hosting food drive events.

The couple always found ways to serve in Baltimore, where Bradley played football for the Ravens since he was drafted by the team in 2018. There, they created the Bradley and Nikki Bozeman Foundation.

The Bozeman’s traveled the country sharing their story on a personal mission to speak out against bullying. Once COVID-19 hit, all the travailing stopped in its tracks.

“Once we got shut down by COVID, we get back and we’re sitting there baking bread, watching Tiger King and all that good stuff,” Bradley Bozeman said. “We were getting emails from kids saying we don’t have food because schools shut down and all of our food came from schools.”

The Bozemans began hosting drive-through food drives to make an impact. They realized quickly not every family could get to a drive-through. A team of Baltimore officers volunteered and delivered boxes of food to kids in need.

It ended up being a payoff for one officer, who said he was able to build a relationship with kids in neighborhoods he normally wouldn’t.

Since signing with the Panthers in the offseason, the Bozemans found ways to bring the same food drive idea to the Queen City, by hosting events where Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers can hand out food directly to the youth.

Bruce Edwards, a community engagement officer for CMPD, said the Bozemans approached him with the idea and they started small, hoping to reach as many kids as they can.

“For now, we are focused on the areas and the schools that are having more challenges, so we can give it to those students and have those officers get out of the car and interact,” Edwards said. “I think the conversation started early on let’s see how this works here, and then we gave them a blueprint to say it will work here.”

In the next weeks, Edwards and his officers will be brining the first boxes of food into Charlotte neighborhoods to hand out to youth.

(WATCH BELOW: Panthers quarterback Mayfield says season-opening game against Browns isn’t about revenge)