Originally created 02/29/04

Social club contributes to civic causes



When a banner bearing The Bunch's name passes bystanders in the annual Martin Luther King Day parade along Laney-Walker Boulevard, puzzled looks are not out of the norm.

The social club, formally organized in 1995, is known more by its deeds than its name. And those deeds, again and again, have served Augusta's children.

"Cordial, congenial, willing to work, compassionate," Bunch member Alzater Johnson recently explained of the membership's attributes. "You have to be compassionate to the needs of the community and needs of the members."

The Bunch is a social club that views its mission as promoting entertainment within the group and the community at-large while also contributing to civic causes.

Its 30 members meet once a month at Eleanor's Kitchen in the Famous Door Supper Club building on Laney-Walker. They divide their time between planning an annual Masters Tournament party and receiving requests from community groups in need.

"This is not a club where you get paid, so you have to be willing to work and do things," vice president Betty Joseph said at the club's January meeting.

The Bunch's biggest fund-raiser of the year is a party held the Friday of Masters Week each year. Its members cater the entire event - cooking fried turkeys, pork loins, ribs and smoked salmon, among other delicacies. Proceeds from the party are used to pay for a variety of community services, most of which benefit the area's children.

In addition to providing scholarships for needy students, The Bunch also raises money to buy for school uniforms for those who can't afford them and to sponsor student participants in fund-raisers.

Some of the civic causes that have benefited from The Bunch's efforts include the Bethlehem Community Center, the March of Dimes and the Shiloh Comprehensive Center.

Bunch President John O'Bryant said members are looking to give something back to the community.

"We just want to make a difference," he said.

Reach Heidi Coryell Williams at (706) 823-3215 or heidi.williams@augustachronicle.com.