Some things don’t change, even when the daily routine at Saint Benedict Education Center has due to the Covid-19 virus.  Winter in Erie and the surrounding counties is cold and snowy; oftentimes bitter cold and very snowy!  Winter wear – coats and boots – are expensive and children outgrow them quickly.  The clients at SBEC are in need of such items for themselves and their children.

    Knowing this, Kara Bauer, Program Supervisor, arranged to have coats and boots provided by SBEC to our participants in Erie, Venango, Clarion, Warren, Forest and Crawford Counties again this year.  

    Case Managers completed a form with each of their participants indicating the number of items and sizes that were needed.  Each person and their children were eligible for one coat and one pair of boots.  Once the forms were returned Kara and staff went shopping.  Items were purchased and then organized in an available room for bagging and pick-up by the Case Managers.

    Last year SBEC offered special items to our clients and their families as well.  A Slumber Party was planned at which pillows and cases, blankets, and slippers were distributed.  Last December a special Christmas Shopping Day was organized in the building so SBEC parents could select one new item for each of their children and have it wrapped by the staff.  Both of these opportunities, and others, were planned to enable informal conversation and interaction among participants and staff with music and refreshments, in a festive atmosphere.  

    This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, such an event was not possible.  It was important to meet the winter needs of our families but in a way consistent with the protocols we have been following.  These protocols include:  Screening everyone who enters the building, social distancing, wearing masks, scheduling specific appointment times for meetings with Case Managers and other staff, sanitizing areas of use, and following other precautionary measures.

    Whatever specific arrangements have been made, there are many happy people walking out the front door to go home or driving away from the curb grateful for the bags of winter items they are carrying - another reminder of the care offered by the staff at SBEC.

    Ready for winter.  Let the snow fall!