PLAINFIELD — For Phil Slavens, assistant superintendent for the Plainfield Correctional Facility, the Mozel Sanders Thanksgiving Dinner has special meaning.
”(Superintendent Brian) Smith and I are old enough that we both remember Mozel Sanders, whoused to come into the prisons,” Slavens said. “What a genuine, honest, Christian man, who was about all of the right things. He wasn’t about glorifying himself.”
Slavens thinks that the dinner isa great tribute to one of the “most genuine” men that he has ever met.
”He came out here and visited the offenders,” Slavens said. “When he was alive, he really had care for the people who didn’t have much. He would have a Thanksgiving dinner for his neighborhood church. After he passed on, his kids wanted to keep that legacy alive. It got to the point where it was almost more than they could handle ... It will feed 40,000 people (this year).”
With so much demand, that’s where groups like the Plainfield Correctional Facility come in. The facility teamed with Aramark to prepare 30,000 portions of stuffing to give to the dinner.
”That is 560 pans,”said Benjamin Grosvenor, food service director for the facility with Aramark. “FedEx will be here at 4 a.m. with four trucks. They’ll pull out within a half of an hour and take the stuffing to Butler University. Butler will get all of the sides --the turkey, the dressing, the vegetables --and distribute them to 40 or 50 shelters throughout Indianapolis.”
Grosvenor said that they prepared 50,000 portions last year. However, due to other entities aiding this year, they were only requested to prepare 30,000 this time.
He also said that the Mozel Sanders Dinner works with a group that provides the products and the facility provides the cooking area and the labor.
As for offenders, their work is done on a volunteer basis. However, it also aids their progress while incarcerated.
”A lot of these guys are in programs and this is rehabilitation,” Grosvenor said. “They are supposed to help the community, so they really get into this. This is the real thing.”