How do you prepare a Thanksgiving dinner for 350 people? Good Shepherd's chef says his secret recipe is “patience with a sprinkle of love.”

“When I do it, I try to envision the dinner I had while growing up,” said Allan Buehner, the organization's chef for its annual Thanksgiving dinner.

As many as 350 people were expected at the Good Shepherd Centre on Mary Street Sunday afternoon for the community dinner. Staff and volunteers prepared 600 meals — the extra meals were for those who would like to come back for a second round.

More people show up for the Thanksgiving dinner than for Good Shepherd’s daily hot meal program, Buehner said. His team went through 80 pounds of stuffing and 140 pounds of turkey.

To add extra flavour to Monday's community dinner, the dining room was decorated with tablecloth and Thanksgiving displays. Clients were also offered boxed chocolates to take home when they left.

“You want to make it as homey as possible,” Buehner said.

Alan Whittle, Good Shepherd's director of community relations and planning, said he has seen people with more complex needs joining the food programs over the years.

“We see people with multiple disabilities or they are unemployed for a long period of time,” he told CBC Hamilton.

To support Good Shepherd's programs, the organization will be holding a fundraising dinner at Carmen's Banquet Centre on Stone Church Road East on Thursday. Last year more than 850 people attended the Harvest Dinner, which raised $120,000.