Reverend Dr. Mozel Sanders was one of Indianapolis’ leading African-American ministers, and was very active in the civil rights movement and efforts to uplift those facing injustice and poverty.
Sanders, marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In 1959, Reverend Dr. Mozel Sanders was appointed Pastor of Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church in Indianapolis. Dr. Sanders diligently worked to serve the needs of his congregation as well as the surrounding community. As a result of his efforts, he received numerous awards and statewide recognition, such as a housing project and a street renamed in his honor
During his tenure as pastor, in 1972, he started an annual Thanksgiving Day dinner, where 20 locals shared in the first meal. Before his death in 1988 at age 64, nearly 16,000 people were fed and by 2000, 24,000 Hoosiers were able to share in the free Mozel Sanders Thanksgiving Dinner.
After Dr. Mozel Sanders’ death in 1988, his son, Reverend Roosevelt Sanders, continued his father’s work by answering the call as both Pastor of Mount Vernon and as a servant of the community, which led to the formation of the Mozel Sanders Foundation (MSF). Approximately seven years ago, the Foundation began monthly distributions of approximately 30,000 pounds of groceries, personal hygiene products, and household cleaning supplies to those in need.