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June 07, 2007 - The Gathering Place Association Hosts "Bunko & Bags"

What: 4th Annual Women's Bunko Event

Where: University of Denver's Cable Center

When: June 7, 2007

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $50 TGPA Members, $90 for new members

Beneficiary: The Gathering Place

Host(s): The Gathering Place Association

EMCEE: Natalie Tysdal, CW2 KWGN-TV

Co-Chair(s): Kelly Hyer and Rae Lapporte

Committee Members: Carla Ayers, Jackie Breland, Julie Buckley, Carole Buyers, Beth Casey, Melissa Coleman, Alix Corboy, Kristin Corporon, Ann Davis, Betsey Fuller, Jill Hibbein, Nancy Holst, Lee-Ann Krauss, Suzanne MacKenzie, Kenda Noble, Laura Quisenberry, Liz Rollins

Libations: Bunko & Bags signature cocktail

Catering: LeBrian’s Catering of Genesee, Colorado

Sponsors: Presenting Sponsor: eBags; Special thanks to the following for donating bags: Isabella Fiore, Longchamp, Etienne Aigner, Details Boutique of Littleton, Pine Creek Clothing Company at Tamarac Square & Old South Gaylord, Tucker Paisley,, Rebel Contemporary Casual Clothing -, B's Purses (Trista Sutter) -, SAVOY Accessories -, Vamp Bags, Vera Bradley, Harvey Original Seatbelt Bags, Barbara & Company at Tamarac Square, Henry Brown Bags, JP Lizzy, Littlearth, Mint Handbags -, Madie Deluxe -, The Pink Purse -, Bagolitas By Janice (Laurie Cook), 2 Red Hens -, It's Purse-onal Handbags & Accessories, Life Is Good, and Talbots of Cherry Creek Shopping Center

Quote of the evening: "Be an example by having a loving heart."

Attendance: 170+

Attire: Sassy chic with a touch of whimsey

Special Thanks: The Vineyard Wineshop of Cherry Creek, Le Brian’s Catering, Macy’s of Cherry Creek, Event Rents, DU Cable Center, Black Top Design & Advertising, Billie Rommes &, Natalie Tysdal & KWGN-TV, and

Hors D'Oeuvres:: Coconut shrimp, pesto goat cheese canapes, crunchy tortellini skewers, asparagus Roma tomato chill, crab cakes, raspberry brie almond cups and “Willy Wonka’s” chocolate dessert platter

Board of Directors: DeeDee Parker, Martha Kallestad, Liz Clarke, Holly Johnson, Beth Rubin, Leslie Minna Budman, Mary Towey, Jean Tutolo, Lauren Naylor, Mary Kirkpatrick, Jan Boynton, Rae Lapporte, Patches Caskey, Sara Leffen, Kelly Hyer, Kristal McGrath, Kelly Keogh, Krista Keogh, Linda Hantman, Nancy Holst, Debbie McCarty, Katie Johnson, Lucy Kissinger, Sandy Autrey, Ann Frost Bailey, Betsy Gielssen, Pam Ignat, Heidi Keogh, Hillary Adams, Daria Kane

Blacktie Photos by: Billie Rommes

 Guest host, Natalie Tysdal, CW2 news anchor, left, and Bunko committee member Jill Hibbeln model their cute handbags.
Guest host, Natalie Tysdal, CW2 news anchor, left, and Bunko committee member Jill Hibbeln model their cute handbags.

For the last four years, the ladies involved in the Gathering Place Association have been hosting a membership evening with the dice game…Bunko. This year, “Bunko & Bags” paired up every woman’s love, The Handbag, with this annual event.

The evening was dedicated to increasing membership & informing women in the community about The Gathering Place Association, an organization that supports the mission of The Gathering Place, Denver’s only daytime drop-in center for women & children experiencing homelessness and poverty. The night opened with an indoor cocktail reception at the University of Denver’s Cable Center. This gave the ladies a chance to chat and show off a few of their own adorable handbags.

Later, co-chairs Kelly Hyer and Rae Lapporte started off the program by welcoming all of the ladies and thanking the many volunteers and committee members. They also made note that the association had more than doubled their numbers as they welcomed over 110 new members to the association. The volunteers, committee members, and board members also informed new members about the many programs & events of the organization, such as the Card Project and the annual Brown Bag Benefit.

It was then time to welcome and introduce the guest host, Channel 2 News Anchor Natalie Tysdal. Natalie spoke of the importance of volunteering in the community and shared a story of her own daughter as she was learning the importance of giving back. She also talked about The Gathering Place, commenting that last year there were over 62,000 visits from homeless clients. Natalie expressed to the ladies the many ways that their commitment though membership have helped the women and children who visit the Gathering Place.

Next, Brenda Roush, VP of Development for the Gathering Place, shared her excitement about the Gathering Place’s new facility, opening this summer, and invited everyone to the ribbon cutting to be held on Sept 18. She thanked all of the volunteers for their energy as well as their financial support.

It was then time to get down to the business of Bunko. After a few rules of the game were reviewed, the ladies began what turned into a very festive and fun evening. Throughout the game, guests were treated to delectable hors d’oeuvres catered by LeBrian’s Catering. The ladies also enjoyed the “Bunko & Bags signature cocktail” and a beautiful dessert table with many chocolate treats & gourmet coffees. And, there was a number of surprise giveaways of themed bags, which stirred up much excitement.

The evening concluded with co-chairs Rae Lapporte and Kelly Hyer awarding fabulous designer handbag prizes for some of the lucky winners. All handbags were directly donated to this event by designer handbag companies, vendors and local boutiques. The event's Presenting Sponsor, eBags, donated a number of the designer bags used for the Bunko & Bags winning prizes. eBags is the world's largest online retailer of bags and accessories. They are based here in Colorado.

Each guest departed the Cable Center with a special gift cosmetics bag with the logo of the evening, stuffed with Clinique products donated by Macy’s of Cherry Creek. It was indeed a fun girl's night for an important organization.

The committee collected bags of toiletries from the women in attendance. These donations will go to Betsy’s Cupboard, the Gathering Place’s in-house dispensing service for personal hygiene items. 

For additional information about The Gathering Place or becoming a member of the Gathering Place Association, log on to

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