Make your home page

Mozel Sanders Foundation prepares for 52nd Thanksgiving dinner

Mozel Sanders Foundation remembers its beginnings

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Thousands of Hoosiers will have a warm Thanksgiving dinner Thursday thanks to the Mozel Sanders Foundation.

For over 50 years, the Mozel Sanders Foundation’s annual Thanksgiving feast has proven that food can satisfy more than just hunger.

“Aw, this is big. I’m excited for it to come, and I’m excited to celebrate, to have another successful year,” said Stephen Sanders, the CEO of the Mozel Sanders Foundation.

Each year, thousands of volunteers are united to serve hungry Hoosiers on Thanksgiving Day with a delicious meal.

According to the organization, 5,000 pounds of chicken will be cooked.

On Wednesday, preparations began for pulled chicken dinners coupled with gravy, stuffing, green beans, cookies, and more.

“It’s going to take about approximately 50 pans for 4,000 people, so we’re going to try to put a dent in that today,” said Sanders.

This special tradition began over 50 years ago at the Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church.

According to the Indiana Historical Society, it all started in 1974 when the founder Reverend Dr. Mozel Sanders saw a need and served a small group of people.

Word of mouth grew, and in 1996, the foundation fed 30,000 people at Arsenal Tech High School.

In 2021, the organization served its 1,000,000th meal.

This year, they’re partnering with Butler University for the 19th time to help feed thousands more in need.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this without volunteers. At least a thousand, just being at different satellite locations, helping us and donations. Like all of this is a city-wide effort. We couldn’t do it without the city of Indianapolis,” said Sanders.

The group is now led by the grandson of Mozel Sanders, Stephen, and his mom Stephanie.

Stephen says he’s excited about the future of the organization.

“I think my grandfather never expected that. It only started with as a mustard-seed vision,” Stephen said. “As a matter of fact, he may not even had a vision for it to be a foundation. His son actually, my father, became the pastor after he passed, and in the 90s he made it a foundation and now that’s why we’re here sustaining the legacy.”

The organization says last year, they provided hot meals to over 10,000 people in need. This year, they’re aiming to feed thousands more.