Thousands of volunteers prepare largest yearly meal for Hoosiers in need

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Up to 40,000 Hoosiers will get a warm Thanksgiving meal on Thursday thanks to the Mozel Sanders Foundation.

To put on a meal this large, the preparation takes months and now, volunteers are down to the last few hours to make sure hungry Hoosiers have a great Thanksgiving.

On Wednesday, hundreds of volunteers stacked boxes, prepared silverware, and organized the meal sides to get everything in order for an early Thursday morning.

"We’ll return at 3 a.m. in the morning and fire all the equipment up and start bringing everything up to temperature, putting them in the buckets to go out," said volunteer chef, Cullen Simpson.

Volunteers from businesses, churches, and community groups gathered to make the final arrangements before things heat up in the kitchen. Even some young children wanted to spend their afternoon volunteering.

"It makes us feel good, because we’re giving them something that they wouldn’t be able to get and that they’ll have the exact same thanksgiving as we will," said Jaden Smith.

To feed 40,000, Mozel Sanders needed 2,000 volunteers.

Here's the breakdown of foods by pound:

  • 15,000 pounds of turkey
  • 10,000 pounds of dressing
  • 2,000 green beans
  • 1,200 gallons of gravy
  • 10,000 pounds of apple crisp
  • 80,000 dinner rolls

After the prepping Wednesday and cooking early Thursday morning, the meals will be delivered to satellite locations including more than 40 churches across the city. The churches will either deliver the meals to your home or you can pick up a meal to go. Some churches are offering a place for Hoosier families to sit and eat their meals. At New Direction Church, they're providing a message at 9, following by the meal at 10.

"There's no way we can do that from one location. Logistics and time just won’t allow it. It’s very important to have the satellite locations," said Simpson.

As of Wednesday night, the Mozel Sanders Foundation needs at least $12,000 to provide meals. It's not just for Thanksgiving Day. The organization provides meals all year for Hoosiers in need.

"Our basis it to make sure no one goes hungry on Thanksgiving Day, but we also feed throughout once a month throughout the year as well, so we’re able to donate food and groceries to families at least once a month," said Dawn Jones, Marketing Director for Mozel Sanders.

Meal delivery was guaranteed if you signed up before last Friday. You can still call tomorrow morning between 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. to request a meal delivery. Call 317-960-5653. You can also call the number to give monetary donations.

For a map of satellite locations, click here.