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'Tis the season for helping others, volunteers share Thanksgiving tradition

mozel sanders thanksgiving.jpg
Posted at 2:26 PM, Nov 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-27 13:58:39-05

INDIANAPOLIS — For many, Thanksgiving is a time to break bread, share stories and create memories with those you love.

A local nonprofit has been helping families in need do just that for more than five decades.

Every year, Mike O'Banyel and his family lends a helping hand.

"I've been doing this since the late 70s, early 80s,” O’Banyel said.

He’s an elder at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church — one of many area kitchens pitching in to help the Mozel Sanders Foundation serve roughly 11,000 meals on Thursday.

O'Banyel, his wife and his son began their day at 6 a.m. and will most likely end their day at 4 in the afternoon. He calls it a labor of love.

“Some of those volunteers are folks from the church who will sit down with the neighborhood friends and pray with them, talk to them, while they sit and have a cup of coffee or a slice of pie to wait for their meals,” he said.

Volunteer Bobby White says the need always exists in our community.

“It’s really hard to judge from year to year, because I think the need grows tremendously. As long as we can continue to be a blessing and do what we can do to serve, I think everything will be well,” White said.

The foundation traded in turkey for chicken this year — a whopping 5,000 pounds of it.

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White says the best part of the day is seeing families in need enjoying a warm meal.

And when asked what his big plans after all the hard work is done, he had one word — rest.

“It totally wipes me out. I’m happy to be a blessing to somebody today. After I'm finished here today, it’s just rest for me and spending time with my family," he said.