By Crystal McGough, Associate Editor
PINSON – Valentine’s Day is only weeks ways and while some couples may already be making plans, others may not have even started thinking about it yet. Whether you’re the type to plan in advance or wait until the last minute, one thing is for sure: no one enjoys standing in long lines waiting to pay for overpriced food.
Thanks to the Pinson Valley Arts Council, couples in the city of Pinson and surrounding areas have a new and exciting alternative option for Valentine’s night. On Feb. 14, 2023, the Pinson Valley Arts Council will be hosting its first-ever “Heart & Sole” Dinner and Dance at the Pinson Rock School.
“With the Pinson Valley Arts Council, I’ve been trying to keep something going every couple of months,” PVAC founder DieDra Ruff said. “With Valentine’s coming up, we want to make sure that we have something for everybody and that they’re able to have a good time.”
The “Heart & Sole” Valentine’s date night isn’t just about good food and entertainment, though. This event will also serve as a charity to benefit homeless people in the Pinson community.
“I don’t think that Pinson realizes that we have homeless people here,” Ruff said. “We have homeless people in this city and there is a need. A lot of times, you might see them at the store, you might see them at a gas station, you might see them with their little cup out or little signs. We’re just coming out of Christmas and folks had great holidays, but nobody’s thinking about what those homeless people went through. A lot of them have estranged family situations – you just don’t know what people are going through when you see them sitting in front of a store with a can out, with a sign up. Then sometimes you see them and they have children.”
Ruff is asking everyone who plans to attend “Heart & Sole” to bring a pair of gently used or new shoes, and/or a package of new socks to donate to the homeless.
“This whole idea came from my sister-in-law, Pamela Ruff,” she said. “I knew I wanted to do something for Valentine’s Day, like a Valentine’s dance, but she said, ‘Heart and Sole,’ and that we could collect and give away shoes – I liked that. Everybody’s got shoes that they’re not wearing. So, that’s why we call it ‘Heart & Sole,’ for the shoes, and to give from your heart whatever you can. Then we’ll just make it a date night. Everybody is looking for something to do on Valentine’s night. Couples are looking to go out to dinner or something like that. Just come to us, bring an extra pair of shoes, and you’re being a blessing as well as being blessed, because we’re going to feed you and entertain you. And bringing socks or shoes – whatever you bring – is being a blessing to somebody else.”
Ruff said the donated shoes can be any size and for any gender, and that a second event to give these items out to the homeless while feeding them a meal will be planned for the near future.
“Once we collect everything, we’ll set up a separate date and let people who are in need go through the bins and get what they need,” she said. “And then we’re going to feed them.”
For just $25 per couple ($15 for singles) plus their donation of shoes and/or socks, those who attend “Heart & Sole” will be served a sit-down Italian dinner and have the opportunity to hit the dance floor and enjoy live entertainment from a DJ.
“We want people to get up and dance and have a great time,” Ruff said. “The music is going to be great dance music, whether it’s slow or fast. We’re focusing on ’70s and ’80s music – good music.”
Additionally, Ruff said that there will be drawings for door prizes. But there is a catch: anyone planning to attend must reserve and pay for their spot by Jan. 31, so that the Pinson Valley Arts Council, which is a nonprofit, knows how much food to order.
To purchase tickets, call or text DieDra Ruff at (404)379-0096. Again, tickets ($25/couple or $15/individual) must be purchased in advance by no later than Jan. 31.
Alpha United Ministries is sponsoring the event, and Ruff said that the Arts Council is looking for other businesses and organizations to be sponsors, as well. Anyone interested in sponsoring the “Heart & Sole” Dinner and Dance can also contact Ruff via text or phone call.
“We want to make it a nice night for everybody,” Ruff said. “We don’t ever know what tomorrow brings for us. We don’t know what kind of shape we’ll be in next year, next month, next week … and we don’t know the destiny of our own children. So that’s the whole point of this dance, to give back. To help somebody in need.”
Date – Feb. 14, 2023
Time – 7 p.m.
Location – Pinson Rock School, 4509 Pinson Blvd., Pinson, AL 35126
Dress – Casual-nice
Cost – $25/couple or $15/individual, plus a donation of shoes or socks
Deadline to purchase tickets – Jan. 31, 2023
Contact – DieDra Ruff (404) 379-0096
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