What does it take to scale up a recipe for six people and feed 400 hungry guests? About 120 pounds of meatloaf, 50 pounds of potatoes, nine gallons of gravy and a whole lot of green beans.

Over the course of three days, 150 culinary students in five of Chef Wendy Bennett’s career and technical education classes at McNary High School peeled, chopped, prepared and cooked all the ingredients for the monthly Keizer Community Dinner at St. Edward Catholic Church on Wednesday, October 23, 2019.

The home-style meal was all created from scratch. Many who attended said it was one of the tastiest meals ever at the community dinner.

Chef Bennett said her culinary students, from beginning freshmen to seasoned seniors, all learned a lot from the experience. She’s already volunteered to return next year so her students have the chance to cook another scrumptious meal for the Keizer community.

While McNary students served the free dinner to grateful diners, students from Whiteaker Middle School’s National Junior Honors Society also helped out.

Whiteaker counselor Pat Curran says his students volunteer every month and set up tables and chairs, carry trays for the elderly and disabled, and do whatever else needs to be done. Whiteaker students have been helping out at the dinners for the past four years.

The meals are possible through generous donations from Marion-Polk Food Share, St. Edward Catholic Church and the Keizer Community Food Bank. Sodexo donated the green beans. Great community spirit everyone!

McNary student cooked dinner for 400 at the Keizer Community Dinner at St. Edwards Catholic Church.