GREENFIELD — One of Hancock County’s largest volunteer events is streamlining the process to get involved.
For the 12th annual Lisa Muegge Feast of Plenty, which serves free Thanksgiving meals to some 2,000 people in Hancock and neighboring counties, signing up to dole out mashed potatoes or drive meals to home-bound residents has gone digital.
Feastofplentyoutreach.com, which launched about two weeks ago, aims to simplify a number of things for organizers, donors and recipients alike, said Julie Lewis, one of the organizers.
The website allows those interested in helping feed those in need on Thanksgiving Day to select where and when they want to serve. The site is also helping organize the list of those who wish to have a meal delivered, Lewis said. People who have access to the internet can sign up on the website, meaning fewer people are leaving messages or requiring followup calls back, she said.
In addition, the website allows philanthropists to make donations through the website, meaning those who don’t want to send a check have another way to give, she said.
The Feast of Plenty used the efforts of some 300 volunteers last year during preparations Wednesday night or on the day of the event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, she said. Last year, volunteers served some 1,300 meals, 800 of which were delivered, said Jeff Muegge, Lisa Muegge’s husband.
Those who want to share in the meal on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23 this year, or pick up a carry-out dinner can just show up to the 4-H Exhibit Hall at the Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds, 620 Apple St. Those requesting meal delivery can visit the website or call 317-335-7590.
Volunteers always clamor for the opportunity to be on the serving line, said organizer Janelle Burkhart, and that hasn’t changed with online sign-up — hour-long stints dishing out yams and stuffing have been mostly filled.
However, the organization has plenty of other roles that need filled, from those who carry grocery bags to cars to those who clean up after the event is over. They’re hopeful the website helps them balance their needs with the availability of volunteers.
Organizers are happy to field phone calls from prospective volunteers but hope one day to transition entirely to online sign-ups, Burkhart said.
The founder and namesake of the event, Lisa Muegge, who died in January 2016, always called Feast of Plenty “the miracle on Apple Street,”
She wanted to help those in need and give love to whoever needed it, Jeff Muegge said.
“She would wake up every day just wanting to serve someone or help someone,” he said.
When the Feast of Plenty first started, his wife organized the event in about a month and fed some 200 people, but as it grew, she added others to her organizational team. She expanded the reach of deliveries as far as Henry, Shelby, Marion and Rush counties.
“She was training us, little did we know, for the roles that we’ve taken over to be able to continue this outreach for our community,” Burkhart said. “It’s hard to do it without her, but it’s also a beautiful thing to see how large her vision has become.”
12th annual Lisa Muegge Feast of Plenty
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 23
4-H Exhibit Hall, Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds, 620 Apple St., Greenfield
To volunteer or sign up for meal delivery, visit feastofplentyoutreach.com.