'1 Millionth Meal': Mozel Sanders Foundation marks 50 years of serving free Thanksgiving Day meals

Posted at 9:34 AM, Nov 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-26 09:18:34-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The Mozel Sanders Foundation celebrated its 50th year serving free meals to the Indianapolis community on Thursday.

Since 1971, hundreds of volunteers have come together the morning of Thanksgiving Day to prepare thousands of meals. Volunteers cook, package, and deliver the holiday meals straight to those in need.

This year, Mozel Sanders anticipates feeding 10,000 Indianapolis residents. Bringing them to serving its one-millionth meal in all.

“Our goal is to feed 10,000 people this year, even with the continuing challenges of COVID-19,” Stephen Mozel James Sanders, CEO of Mozel Sanders Foundation, stated in a news release. “It’s much less than we normally do, but we are still committed to providing meals this year.”

Preparation for the dinner plates includes 3,750 pounds of turkey, 3,125 pounds of dressing, 500 ten-pound cans of green beans, 312 gallons of gravy, and 20,000 dinner rolls. The dinners are being prepared in 15 different kitchens and 12 other satellite locations, such as churches.

“We feel good about partners for this year and how everyone has come together,” Stephanie Sanders, COO of Mozel Sanders Foundation, stated in a release. “Being in our 50th year, we couldn’t stop our mission because of continued coronavirus restrictions. We knew we had to press forward and feed the people. We are grateful for those churches, kitchens, and restaurants that have stepped up to help.”

The Mozel Sanders Foundation says it is the longest-running organization in the country, feeding the most people on Thanksgiving Day. The organization typically serves around 40,000 meals on the November holiday alone.

Those interested in contributing to the Mozel Sanders Foundation can visit

For those in need, Mozel Sanders Foundation also hands out groceries every second Thursday of the month at Mt. Vernon Community Baptist Church, located at 709 North Belmont Avenue.

WRTV was at one of the 2021 Mozel Sanders Foundation preparation sites on Thanksgiving Day, where former WRTV Reporter Barbara Boyd was one of the many volunteers. See WRTV Photojournalist Shea Goodpaster's photos below:

A photo of Mozel Sanders Foundation volunteers preparing dinners on Thanksgiving Day in 2021.