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Mozel Sanders Thanksgiving Dinner needs volunteers, kitchens, drivers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Every year, volunteers serve thousands of hot meals for the Mozel Sanders Foundation‘s annual Thanksgiving Day event.

This year, as the city fights the coronavirus pandemic, the need is greater than ever, but limits of kitchen space facing the foundation will mean fewer are fed than usual on Nov. 26.

“Even more this year, there are still people that are still seriously hurting with regard to the economy, and with COVID and everything else going on, there’s a need. There are people that are going to go hungry on Thanksgiving,” said Dawn Jones, the marketing and public relations director for the Mozel Sanders Foundation.

To try to feed as many people as they can, the foundation needs volunteers to chip in. A website lets people apply to volunteer.

“My hope and my prayer is that their heart is warmed and they get the satisfaction of knowing they’ve helped another person, another family, another part of the community to be able to eat on Thanksgiving,” Jones told News 8 on Thursday.

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Volunteers will have to follow strict COVID-19 safety guidelines.

In years past, volunteers made upwards of 40,000 hot meals. This year, the foundation is proposing only 10,000-15,000 meals.

“Just because of the constraints and not having our normal kitchen at Butler (University), that’s our biggest constraint right now. Not being able to provide at the level. So, we’re actually soliciting kitchens across the area. If they’re willing to open their kitchen, we’ll staff it with volunteers,” Jones said.

New this year, the Roberts Park Methodist Church on North Delaware Street in downtown Indianapolis will be a place for volunteers to cook the food and put some of those meals together. Jones also said the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church at 34th Street and Central Avenue has also opened its kitchen to help cook food.

“Right now, we need a few more kitchens so we can really help scale it the way we’d like to,” Jones said.

The foundation is also looking for drivers. “We really need drivers this year. What we’re going to do is a centralized location. They’ll come to that location, get a sheet. They won’t even have to get out their car. They get a sheet of ‘here’s your location,’ boxes with meals, here’s the food, and go deliver. We’re trying to simplify it, and all of our deliveries will be contactless,” Jones said.

For more information, send an email to info@mozelsanders.org.

Anyone who would like to receive a Thanksgiving meal can call the dinner line at (317) 636-7985 from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. through Nov. 15.

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