Season of Giving starts in earnest

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Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. But today marks the official start to the season of giving in central Indiana.   

The sign outside the United Way office on North Meridian Street tells the public where they stand in terms of donations, and where they need to go.  Although at 62-percent, today's figure is behind where they were last year, and where they need to be.

The season of giving really ramps up on Thanksgiving with an annual Indianapolis tradition - the Mozel Sanders Thanksgiving meal.  This is one of the largest and longest giving traditions, and today the foundation begins its annual radiothon to raise the funds to feed some 40,000 people. 

No one is turned away.  But to serve a hot meal of turkey and all the trimmings, organizers say they still need about $80,000 in donations. 

"As we get bigger, the need is greater," said Mike Rojaro of the Sanders foundation. "We have to come up with new and exciting ways, because we will never turn our backs on anyone who's hungry."

Salvation Army bell ringers will have their work cut out for them when they man the red kettles, too.  They kick off next Friday, hoping to raise $100-thousand more than last year. 

With the poverty rate in Indiana above 16-percent, the need is great.  But so are the costs.

Focus on the election, the economy, even Hurricane Sandy are all having an impact on organizations like the United Way, which provides programs and funding for so many here in central Indiana. 

The Mozel Sanders Radiothon takes place at Lafayette Square and Circle Centre Mall today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.