Bunco ladies help single dad with generous donation

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Bunco ladies are, from left, Chris Corbin, Robin Walker, Maryann Hickok, Maria Cohen, Anna DaToro, Sally Mitten, Kathy Bacon, Patty Bonelli and Amy Gerrard. (Not present are Nancy Merola, Jennifer Sizemore and Mona Cuicchi.) Photo by Donna Kupke

Bunco ladies are, from left, Chris Corbin, Robin Walker, Maryann Hickok, Maria Cohen, Anna DaToro, Sally Mitten, Kathy Bacon, Patty Bonelli and Amy Gerrard. (Not present are Nancy Merola, Jennifer Sizemore and Mona Cuicchi.) Photo by Donna Kupke

Twenty years ago a group of Canyon Lake ladies, many of whom lived on Compass Dr., formed a Bunco group. None of them imagined how long they’d meet, once a month, every month, to play and visit (and eat!).

The ladies meet each month, taking turns hosting (which includes dinner, dessert and snacks). Although they live nearby, their busy lives prevent them from spending as much time together as they would like. Says Amy Gerrard, “While Bunco is the excuse to get together, it is the friendship that has kept us together for so long!”

For the last seven years, the ladies have created a gift card tree to donate to a needy family that they locate through the local high school special needs program.

This year, however, they decided to “switch it up” and find a new cause to donate to. After collecting over $200, one of the ladies received information from a friend of another friend, a single dad with two teenage boys, who lost his home to a fire on Thanksgiving.

The ladies immediately decided to present him with their donation. They then added their normal monthly game “buy-in” of $120 to help even more.

The host of that month’s game is married to Dan Bonelli, who just happens to be a fire investigator and the owner of Advanced Analysis Home Inspections (fire investigations). Dan overheard the ladies’ discussion and, because of his business as well as past career as a fireman, jumped at the opportunity to help by adding a sizable donation himself. This brought the total to over $800!

The ladies recently received a thank-you note from the family. The father was overjoyed with the generosity of these strangers, saying how comforting it is to know that there are still people, strangers, who are willing to help others.

The ladies in the Bunco group are Chris Corbin, Robin Walker, Maryann Hickok, Maria Cohen, Anna DaToro, Sally Mitten, Kathy Bacon, Patty Bonelli, Amy Gerrard, Nancy Merola, Jennifer Sizemore and Mona Cuicchi.

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Donna Kupke