INDIANAPOLIS — The Thanksgiving tradition will continue, but a shortage of turkey has the Mozel Sanders Foundation adjusting the menu for their annual holiday meals this year.

Instead of turkey and gravy for Thanksgiving, it will be pulled chicken and gravy given out later this month.

Stephanie Sanders, the president and CEO of the Mozel Sanders Foundation, told FOX59 that there is a shortage of the pre-cooked turkey breast that they normally use.

She added this was not the first time that the foundation had to make a substitution on the menu, that a similar situation happened several years ago. Turkey was in short supply, so they opted for chicken.

They will be utilizing their satellite kitchens as they have in recent years to prepare the meals, with about 10,000 meals expected to be made and given out.

The foundation does plan to return to a centralized kitchen at Butler University next year.

The Mozel Sanders Foundation marked the 50th anniversary of this Thanksgiving tradition in 2021, and celebrated serving their one millionth meal as well.

The one millionth meal was served to a family that lives on Indianapolis’ near north side last year.

The organization was started 51 years ago when Reverend Mozel Sanders saw people working outside of his church on Thanksgiving Day, with no food. He began to serve his neighbors and from there, the effort took off.

The organization typically serves between 20,000 to 40,000 meals every year on Thanksgiving. However, they had to scale back in recent years due to the pandemic.

Food insecurity has long been a challenge for many Hoosiers and made worse by the pandemic in recent years. Food pantries have seen sharp increases in visitors, with 1 in 6 Hoosiers said to be food insecure.

Here is a look at just how much food the Mozel Sanders Foundation gave out last year:

  • Turkey: 3,750 lbs.
  • Dressing: 3,125 lbs.
  • Green Beans: 500 cans (10 lbs. each)
  • Gravy: 312 gallons
  • Dinner Rolls: 20,000

The organization reports that while donations have been slow this year, they are confident Hoosiers will come through to provide what they need.

If you would like to order a dinner, donate to help fund this year’s meals or even volunteer to cook or distribute meals, you can call (317) 636-7985 or by going to the Mozel Sanders Foundation website.