Curtis: Welcome back tonight as we celebrate Thanksgiving. We thought it would be meaningful to talk about one of the great Thanksgiving traditions in Indianapolis. This is the 50th anniversary of the Mozel Foundation feeding people at Thanksgiving, and tonight we get to visit with two of the people that make this special event go. Amora Scott and Kelly Vaughn. Amora, Kelly, thank you for being with us. 50th year! Ladies, what a special last couple of days this has been. Amora, take us through what this event looks like from the foundation perspective as you feed the hungry in Indianapolis for Thanksgiving.
Amora (Mozel Sanders Foundation, Fund Development Director): Well, it’s changed a lot. [In] the last two years it has changed a lot, but this year with us putting [the event] together, we had to go to restaurants, to cafeterias, to other places to ask them to put together the hot meals so that we could send it back into the community. Before, it was always at Butler University.
Curtis: Right. At times it has fed 40,000 people or so. Is that correct?
Amora: 40,000. 42,000 one year.
Curtis: Wow! Last year the pandemic, like it did everything else, changed things. That number dwindled to, I believe about 10,000.
Amora: You are correct.
Curtis: You’re on you’re way back up. How many meals do you think you have served over the last 24 hours.
Amora: We counted about 15,000.
Curtis: Wow. What an impact Kelly on the community to get that much food out to people.
Kelly (Mozel Sanders Foundation): And speaking of that much food, remember we served the millionth meal today.
Amora: Yes, it was amazing.
Kelly: One million meals in the last 50 years. That is a lot of turkey.
Curtis: [chuckles] That is a lot of turkey. A lot of naps after that turkey. Tell me about the Reverend Dr. Mozel Sanders. I obviously did not know him, but he sounds like he was just an amazing man who had such a heart for this community.
Amora: I would love to speak up on that one. Yes. What I’ve heard so much about him is how he impacted this community, and I can tell you it was 50 years ago that the church got together and brought in hot food and everyone celebrated together at the church. And as he was closing the doors, he went and saw that there was somebody outside – sitting outside on the front porch. And he walked over to them and said, “Is there a… have you had a Thanksgiving meal?” And he said, “No. My mom is sick, and you know, it’s just me today here.” And so he brought him in and he fed him, this man. And he talked to him about Jesus Christ. And the other thing, during church on Sunday, he told the congregation, “We’re not feeding each other. We’re feeding the hungry.”
Curtis: That is such a beautiful picture of what God calls us to sometimes. Just take a small step. Trust him with a little thing, and all of a sudden it becomes this massive thing. From that one meal to 42,000. And Kelly here over the last couple of years now – a telethon that helps to support the effort [happned] a couple of weeks ago, right here on WHMB.
Kelly: Yes, and that grew out of really the pandemic. We think of a lot of negative things happening, but the issue of having to serve or prepare all of these meals, and with Butler no longer being available. Rightfully so. Because of the fears and concerns of the pandemic. I thought, so how could we get these restaurants and schools to open up their kitchens? So I told Amora and Stephanie Sanders who is the COO, and her son Stephen who is the CEO. We said, why don’t we do a telethon because we can use this as leverage to lure those restaurants in. So you call and say, “so will you cook for Thanksgiving.” [And you get] Maybe, maybe not. We’re going to put you on T.V. and they’re like, “We’re in.” It’s actually a ploy to get people initially.
Curtis: The camera changes people.
Kelly: Yeah, it definitely does. And it worked. We’re into our second year and it went fabulously.
Curtis: That is awesome.
Amora: We had a great time putting it together.
Kelly: And of course, the mayor participated. We had a shoutout from the governor as well. A lot of celebrities – local personalities who were involved. The local firefighters were there. It was just really neat. And I think it’s going to grow and grow and one day it will just be huge because you have bands and they start calling and they want to be a part of it. It was interesting recruiting the talent for that.
Curtis: That is phenomenal. Amora in your role as Director of Fund Development, this maybe seems like a Thanksgiving-centric topic, but this is something you guys work on all year. There is fundraising and support that is needed all year. And we have a couple of bottles of barbecue sauce that I think tie-in beautifully to that. Right? This barbecue sauce, I’ve heard, is amazing. Tell us about it.
Amora: Yeah. You can find it on shelves here in Indianapolis, and you can buy it online too at mozelsandersbbq.com, and I can deliver it to your home or your office. We sell it and with the different shelves in Indianapolis, you will find it in a lot of the small markets. 100% of the profits go to feed the hungry on Thanksgiving, and that’s what we’ve done. If Paul Newman can do it with Newman’s Own products. We can do it with barbecue sauce.
Curtis: I absolutely agree.
Kelly: Buy a case though. Don’t buy a bottle.
Curtis: Don’t just buy a bottle. Buy a couple cases.
Kelly: Buy a couples cases.
Curtis: Is it that good Kelly?
Kelly: Yeah, it’s that good.
Amora: Really that good. Yes.
Curtis: But what an amazing thing all year long to support the effort to feed people on Thanksgiving. Again I love that picture of being intentional about it and purposeful about it. That is awesome. Amora. Kelly. Thank you both so much for being here. Thank you for what you have spearheaded in the community for so many years. 50th anniversary. Again this year, another huge and successful event. Thank you so much.
Kelly: Thank you for having us.
Mozel Sanders Foundation:
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