The Rev. Diane Dunne, who helped feed the homeless in the East Village since the late 1980s, died in her sleep last Friday night at her Long Island home. She was 66.
Pastor Diane, as she was known, could be seen in Tompkins Square Park giving out free food on Wednesdays and Saturdays to those in need. “Tough love” is how one Park regular described her.
In her 20s, she worked as a regional sales manager for a cosmetics company, a job that she found unfulfilling. In 1982, she enrolled at World Challenge Ministries and later embarked on a life of street ministry. A Long Island resident, she first came to Tompkins Square Park in 1987.
She was the founder of Hope For the Future Ministries, based in Farmingdale, Long Island. In November 2009, a fire, suspected to be arson, heavily damaged the facility's food pantry, though she was able to regroup. The organization was said to serve 300,000 hot meals and pantry bags per year to people in need on Long Island and in New York City.
Funeral arrangements are pending. There is a memorial scheduled to honor her tomorrow afternoon at 4 along Avenue A at Tompkins Square Park.