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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Mozel Sanders Foundation did not let the coronavirus pandemic get in the way of 49 years of tradition.

Because of the pandemic, Thanksgiving looked a lot different this year for volunteers with the Mozel Sanders Foundation. To help with social distancing, fewer people prepared food at the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church.

Normally most of the food is prepared in a kitchen at Butler University. This year because of the pandemic, organizers had to use several different locations to prepare the food. Because of that, they couldn’t make as many meals this year. In previous years, the foundation and its volunteers prepared up 40,000 meals. This year, those folks prepared 10,000.

The chief operations officer of the foundation, Stephanie Sanders said the community has to pull together to continue to take care of each other.

“We need to pull together as a people and a nation and make it work ,” Sanders said.

Mike O’Banyel was in charge of the Mozel Sanders’ preparation at the Tabernacle Presbyterian. The church was this year’s largest satellite location for the foundation. Volunteering on Thanksgiving Day for the foundation has become a family tradition for him that started with O’Banyel’s father. Now, that tradition has continued with his sons and his wife. He said seeing the volunteers working says a lot about the human spirit.

“It makes me grateful that there are people willing to serve, help out and give time on Thanksgiving Day when they could be spending time with their family.”

Barbra Boyd has been volunteering at Tabernacle preparing meals for 30 years. She said helping people in need is one of the most satisfying things she’s ever done. “We know from experiences that there are people that are hungry, so we are doing our share to make sure that they are going to eat today.”

The event’s organizers said the success was a team effort. Sanders said, “Mozel Sanders is just the name but the Hoosiers make it happen in Indianapolis.”

The Mozel Sanders Foundation is already preparing to make next year’s Thanksgiving bigger and better than ever. The foundation always welcomes support from the community. People can use their smartphones to donate by texting “mozel” to 313131 or going to the “Donate” section at

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Indiana coronavirus timeline

With information from the Indiana Department of Health through March 4, 2021, this timeline reflects updated tallies of deaths and positive tests prior to that date.