INDIANAPOLIS — Thanksgiving for a lot of us is going to look different this year, especially for those who rely on volunteers for their holiday feast.
The Mozel Sanders Foundation normally cooks and delivers about 40,000 meals, and for the past several years the food has been cooked, packed and shipped at Butler University by thousands of volunteers. This year, fewer than 100 volunteers are working out of 13 separate locations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our meals have been decreased from 40,000 to about 10,000 due to the amount of volunteers we can take care of and the amount of food we can bring in,” said Stephen Sanders, CEO of the Mozel Sanders Foundation.
Sanders is in his first year as the CEO and the COVID-19 pandemic is not making it easy.
“I would say with the pandemic, we've been challenged with spaces or the amount of people we can tolerate,” Sanders said. “But we're still trying to ensure that you have access to a meal on Thanksgiving.”
Cullin Simpson has been the volunteer chef for 35 years and said this year is different from the rest, but they were determined to feed as many Hoosiers as possible.
“We were very much bent on getting as much out as we possibly can, so we worked with the resources that we have and this is what we landed, and it's 10,000 that wouldn't have gotten meals,” Simpson said.
Now Sanders is putting the call out for anyone who can to help those in need this holiday.
“We won't be able to do a mass amount as we usually do, so it's up to our Hoosiers and up to our Hoosier heroes to actually step up and feed and also just help because we're all in this together,” Sanders said.
Next year is the Mozel Sanders Foundation’s 50th year, and they are hoping then they can serve their millionth meal.