Mrs. Adeline Bunche was recently recognized for her years of loving service to her community. Family, friends, fellow church members, and community activists came together to pay tribute to Mrs. Bunche.
“This is the first time that my office has honored anyone,” said Assembly woman Inez Barron. “We’ve given citations and proclamations, but this is the first time we have organized an event for someone. We could not have thought of a better person than Mrs. Bunche. She’s genuine, she endears herself to people. She builds your strength and character. She knows how to shore people into a collective and how to get you energized for noble causes. She’s everybody’s mother, everybody’s grandmother, everybody’s sister, everybody’s friend. She does what she feels God has called to do. She is the perfect example of how we are supposed to support one another and love one another.”
“The person we are here honoring is so special,” Barron said. “She is a perfect example of what God wants us to do as we live here on this Earth.” Mrs. Barron described the circumstances in which she learned of Mrs. Bunche’s character. “I first met Mrs. Bunche when Charles was running office. She came to us. We began to know her as Bunchie. She endeared herself to us. She came bringing her skills, her commitment, her enthusiasm, and her desire to be involved in a campaign for person that she saw had some skills and talents to bring to help make this community a better community. She served on that campaign faithfully. Campaign Finance is a city agency that monitors how you spend the money that they give you that matches what community people have given. They are exacting. Bunchie had everything filed so that you can go back and get it. Bunchie taught me how to categorize and file it once you’ve done the work. I can’t tell you how many hours Bunchie dedicated to working in our campaign. She would come to my house 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, then stay until 1, 2, 3 in the morning, 4 in the morning, 6 o’clock and be dedicated to the work. It was never, ‘I gotta go.’ She’s gentle, but forceful. She makes sure you get the message that things have to be done a certain way. She will encourage you, support you, she’ll model for you what you should do.”
Barron told of Bunchie remembering special days in her friend’s lives. “Bunchie loves birthday cards. I don’t know what kind of system she has, but Blackberry has nothing on Bunchie,” said Barron. “She knows when your dates are and she will send you a card. She doesn’t just get gifts for children, show by little gifts for adults that they like, too.”
There is one other thing people did not know about Bunchie. “She can sew. She can tailor a garment,” Barron said. “It’s part of her eye for detail. She can put things together in a particular form and fashion and make it look good.”
We pay tribute to Mrs. Bunch,” Viola Plummer said. “This is women’s history month and we are appreciating the essence of women through Mrs. Bunche.
Tina Bunche characterized her mother community service as “doing what we all should be doing. It’s the little people that usually make a big difference. One thing I noticed, especially in our church, is that she gathers people together without fanfare. She introduces people; she gets conversation started. She brings people in. As you know in any church large or small they are people who stand off to the side and not feel welcome. She always tries to welcome and in corporate people which is really good. It spills into her family life, personal life, and her community activity. I am very proud of my mom.”
Bunchie also collects clothes and toiletries for Haiti. “We send barrels twice a month,” said Tina. We were doing this before the earthquake because we still have family in Haiti. My godfather, Lafontant, is a Catholic bishop in the north region of Haiti. There is poverty all over Haiti, no matter where you go. My mother makes sure she collects clothes and toiletries from everyone – Linden Plaza, Cypress Hill’s, Pink Houses, and family homes, everywhere. People come and say, ‘Adeline, I have clothes.’ We paid to transport the barrels. That’s what we do. Let’s face it. Everybody in New York has much more than people in Haiti and will ever have. People here do not know poverty. When I went to Haiti with my daughter in 1983, I came back and told the people that I worked with ‘you have no idea what poverty is. I’ve seen people washing rags and putting them out on their hut to dry.’ My cousin told me, ‘those are not rags, those are their clothes that they wash in the dirty streams and put them on their huts to dry in the sun.’ so for us to contribute, getting the barrels, putting clothes together, and sending it, that’s absolutely nothing. I love my mother for doing that. She’s the one that started me doing it.”
“My mother just does, said Tina. “She makes sure everyone gets Our Time Press. She lets people know when the Precinct Council meetings are held. She goes to the neighbor’s houses and reminds them of it. She just tries to keep everybody together. With our family is the same thing. She wants everybody to get together, be loving and kind to each other, to share what you have. She always tells us we all have talents and treasures, but if you don’t share them are not worth anything. That’s how she is.”
Estelle B. Langston is the first cousin to Mrs. Bunch’s deceased husband. “Our daughter was born in Virginia where I’m from and where husband is from. I came up here to New York. She thought I came for visit. I had moved in. We’ve been close ever since. So close that people thought I was related to her and Bill was the in-law,” said Estelle.
Lorraine Lucas said she and Bunchie are “cloned. We go to the same church. We know some of the same people. We have been friends for a number of years. We call on each other for whatever, whenever. She has me helping her to live Our Time Press and working with the homeless. I consider us doing ministry work. That’s why I love her.”
Patrick Adun, a member of Bunchie’s church St. Fortunata Catholic, said she “is like a mother to almost everybody. When she is involved with anything that we do, she takes it as her own personal responsibility. She ensures that things are well done, and appropriately. She’s does not discriminate whether you’re an African or European, she takes you just the way you are. It was a great honor for me to attend this great honor for her because I never thought I would be invited to such an occasion.
Bunchie told the group, “This was supposed to be a surprise. I was told to come to the office to take care of some water bills and taxes. However, Ms. Viola (Plummer) let the cat out of the bag. She said,’ your daughter told us we can’t surprise you (Bunchie) because you will surprise everybody.
I just want to thank each and every one of for being here today. This is a momentous moment for me. The things you have said about me, well, some of them are true. I’ve know my neighbors for a long time. We look out for one another. We are like block watchers.
Making point to recognize Tony, a former officer with the 75th precinct, Bunchie told of working together with Tony on Forbell Street (the location of a men’s shelter), trying to keep peace there. When Bunchie thanked her Linden Plaza ‘family’ and her African ‘family’ from church, Tony, who looks Italian said, “I’m African, too!” generating more laughter.
Bunchie described how she would grab daughter, taking her to various locations like her doctor’s office, and True Worship Church. “I go all around, especially in the laundry mat and ask, ‘Would you like to have a free community paper?’ ‘No, thank you.’ ‘But it’s good news! Once you read it, you’re good to be looking for it.’ Believe me, they come looking for it. In church, they come asking me for the paper, because there is good information in Our Time Press. I’ve been delivering the papers for about six or seven years now. I like that paper and I enjoy letting the community know what’s going on. This is my community for 48 years.”