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A tradition of service and a lesson learned at Mozel Sanders Foundation’s Thanksgiving meal

Tradition of service passed down at Mozel Sanders Foundation’s Thanksgiving meal

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For more than 50 years, one consistency on Thanksgiving in Indianapolis has been the Mozel Sanders Foundation‘s meal.

The need increases every year. 

Stephanie Sanders said, “Hunger is one of our biggest elements or biggest challenges right now. People are hungry, young and old.”

One by one, 11,000 meals were prepped and prepared for delivery on Thursday. The meals were boxed up, put into bags and then moved into the hands of people who need an extra hand on Thanksgiving.

Sanders is the hand that drives the organization. She is a daughter-in-law of the late Mozel Sanders, who started the event.

It takes about $100,000 to provide thousands of meals.

The Indianapolis Indians baseball team makes a sizable donation every year. The check handed to Sanders will go toward Thanksgiving in 2024.

A few months ago, the organization was running tight on funds. “Every October, I think, ‘Oh, we are going to be tight,’ but the Hoosiers, they help me out. I don’t have any complaints, but I don’t see it going down. I see it escalate,” Sanders said.

The event is the one time every year these two, Republican Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Democrat Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, work side by side toward the same end goal of getting plates filled up and people fed. It is a longstanding tradition that the holders of their respective offices have maintained for nearly 40 years.

Sarah Butler volunteered Thursday for her 13th year, bringing the youngest in her family for the first time. “I brought my grandchildren and great-grand children here to work. They are 9, 8 and 7,” Butler said.

She wants her great-grand children to learn about life and how to serve others before themselves. The admiration that great-grandson Cameron Roller has for Butler was evident in his eyes.

The lesson he’s learned? “Be kind,” Roller said as he looked around the room.

The lesson Butler has passed down is simple but goes a long way in today’s world. The reward is seeing the faces of people they serve. 

Circle City Broadcasting, parent company of WISH-TV, is a sponsor of the Thanksgiving Day event.