INDIANAPOLIS — 2020 has been hard on all of us and the effects of the pandemic have not been any easier on organizations trying to carry on their annual Thanksgiving services, including dinners and food drives.
"It's a pandemic and we've never faced anything like this. We're used to serving at least 30,000 meals and that's been condensed to 10,000 meals," said Stephen Sanders.
Due to restrictions on crowd sizes, the number of volunteers for the annual Mozel Sanders Thanksgiving Dinner is limited, and that reduces the number of Hoosiers the organization can feed. Crowd size and the health of volunteers are added challenges Sanders and his team at the Mozel Sanders Foundation are dealing with this year.
"It's a lot of changes we have to take temperatures this year of people. Not only the food but people this year its a whole different. time," Sanders said.
Adding to their challenges, the Sanders team will not have access to its most helpful tool, the huge kitchen at Butler University, where in the past, food had been centrally prepared for distribution. Due to COVID they can't use Butlers facilities and will instead rely on the kitchens in a dozen restaurants and churches. But after solving that problem there is still an issue—the food has to be directly delivered to the homes of those who need it and that takes more volunteers.
"We need drivers with cargo vans or pickup trucks something that can haul a mass amount," said Sanders. In a year full of obstacles he is certain that when Hoosiers hear this call for help, they will come together and pull off a Thanksgiving that not even a pandemic can cancel.
"What I don't like to see is someone say they didn't receive a meal and that's the purpose of this foundation is to ensure everyone has access to a meal on Thanksgiving Day," said Sanders.
The organization has all the volunteers they can take on the day of Thanksgiving. The day they really need help is on Tuesday when they have to shuttle the food to the restaurants and churches to be cooked.
If you think you can help, visit: https://mozelsanders.org/ to sign up.