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Ruston residents ‘Dine in the Pines’

April 21, 2016

ISABELA PALMIERI

Staff Reporter | ipa001@latech.edu

 

Attendees were served a dinner while the Russtown Mallet Duo provided entertainment. Photo by Ashley Kober.

Attendees were served a dinner while the Russtown Mallet Duo provided entertainment. Photo by Ashley Kober.

 

Pine Hills Children’s Advocacy Center held a community dinner on the evening of April 16 called “Dine in the Pines” in downtown Ruston to raise money for victims of child abuse. The organization sold meal tickets for $25, which included a broccoli salad, an entree, and dessert.

 

 

Carol Carson, the director of Pine Hills Children’s Advocacy Center, said the non-profit organization had been searching for a signature fundraiser for a long time.

 

 

“I had been looking for about two years for something we could claim as our own,” she said. “I saw this on Facebook eight weeks ago, and we started passing the idea around and I claimed it, so that’s how we came up with Dine in the Pines.”

 

 

Carson, who has worked with the organization for over three years, said Dine in the Pine’s groundbreaking year was a success due to their committee.

 

 

“I had a wonderful committee, very diverse, that came together even though none of us had ever worked together on an event before,” Carson said. “It was just phenomenal how we worked together.”

 

 

Dine in the Pines received 60 sponsorships and 367 attendees, a number  which was well above her expectations. The event offered an outdoor dinner with live music by Greg’s Lion Band.

 

 

Mollie Robbins, a volunteer, said that when she was asked to help with the fundraiser she could not say no to the great cause.

 

 

“I know children who have been sexually abused and what it can do to children and to their families,” she said. “Carol asked me if I would help her fundraise and it was something I couldn’t turn down.”

 

 

Carson said the organization serves five parishes: Lincoln, Union, Bienville, Claiborne and Jackson. It is the only center available in the five parishes that aid victims of child abuse. They do medical advocacy,  educate the community and offer counseling for victims.

 

 

“We have a curriculum where we will go into the schools and churches and teach them about abuse,” Carson said. “It builds character. It gives them the strength to be able to say no and the strength to stand up to a bully.”

 

 

Patsy Bullock, a Ruston Resident, said she was surprised with the event’s turnout since it is the first time something has been done like it in Ruston.

 

 

“I think it is just absolutely phenomenal that Carol came up with this,” she said. “This has been over and beyond what my expectations were for it. I think everybody is always open for something that’s unique and calls attention to a group such as the Pine Hills Children’s Advocacy Center.”

 

 

Bodie Woods who sat next to Bullock at the event, said the fundraiser was great and there were more people in attendance than he expected.

 

 

“There has been a nice and friendly atmosphere the whole night,” he said. “I think it’s wonderful and it’s been a great success. It couldn’t be a better cause. Any place in the world you go to, an abused child would be a great cause to help. Nobody would object to that.”

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