BY CHARLEY CRESPO | About 60 of the East Village and Lower East Side’s most marginalized residents gathered in Tompkins Square Park on Saturday afternoon to honor Pastor Diane Dunne.
Dunne, who held church-without-walls services and distributed free food in the park for 33 years through her Hope for the Future Ministries, died suddenly at home in her sleep on Oct. 30. She was 66.
Pastor Deborah Mitchell, who was Dunne’s pastor and best friend, led the memorial service. In her eulogy, she outlined the many sacrifices Dunne made in order to maintain the weekly food distribution.
Several of Dunne’s volunteers, along with members of the food line, also recollected the life-changing moments they had with Dunne through her ministry.
The congregation spread across four sets of park benches and stood in the area where Dunne led her Wednesday services. They listened to the testimonies and sang “What a Mighty God We Serve.”
As the hour-long ceremony concluded, volunteers gave bags of food to the attendees. The volunteers explained that Dunne’s sudden death left them scrambling to reorganize the operation, from ordering and stocking to packing the food products for distribution. They promised that they will attempt to resume the weekly food distribution program in the park in the new year.
Visit the Hope for the Future Ministries Web site for updates on food distributions.