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Treasures & Such Reopens for Business

Treasures & Such Reopens for Business

Nearly a year and a half after being shut down by COVID-19, Treasures & Such is once again open for business.              

The store, which provides new and used household items for participants in St. Benedict Education Center’s job training and placement program, reopened on Aug. 19. Treasures & Such had been closed since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The store provides many essential products for the participants, including personal care items, cleaning supplies, paper products such as paper towels and toilet paper, and pots and pans and other miscellaneous supplies for the household. Treasures & Such also features a children’s area with clothes, books and toys.

Sister Dorothy Stoner, SBEC’s Coordinator of Community Engagement, asked volunteers in June if some of them could get back together to begin planning the store’s reopening. Up to 10 volunteers responded to the call and met twice in July to plan, clean, and organize the store to get it ready for customers.

After a long 18 months of dealing with COVID-19, the time was right to prepare the store for a reopening. Because the store was closed for so long, circumstances are now different and many adjustments were and will continue to be made.

Store volunteers discussed new procedures, scheduling, record keeping, the arrangement of items inside the store, and the use of Benny Bucks by SBEC’s clients. Benny Bucks, an incentive used by SBEC’s staff to recognize program participants for their achievements, are the main currency for purchasing items at Treasures & Such. The SBEC staff and volunteers are all committed to the use of Benny Bucks at the store to acknowledge the accomplishments of clients.

On the second workday in July, volunteers came armed with buckets and rags to clean the inside of the store and other spaces used by Treasures & Such for storage.

Sister Dorothy lauded the volunteers as a committed, creative and hard-working group. “I think our two days of work produced good ideas, a workable plan, and spaces clean and ready for action,” she said.

In hopes of reopening the store in August, a “store experiment” was conducted. Taking advantage of in-person CPR and first aid classes being offered by SBEC instructor Don Feeney, Treasures & Such reopened and invited any participants who were available to shop in the store.

That experiment has led to more open days for the store when clients are available. Of course, COVID-19 protocols are being followed at Treasures & Such, as suggested by SBEC’s Executive Director Nancy Sabol. Customers and volunteers are being asked to sanitize their hands, wear masks and practice social distancing.

Sister Dorothy believes the store plays a key role in the lives of participants at SBEC. “I think the store offers an important acknowledgement of the efforts our participants are making. They earned the Benny Bucks as an incentive for them to purchase items helpful to them. I think that’s important and I want to offer this support for our people.”

Most classes at SBEC are still being conducted remotely because of the uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic. But case managers and other work force specialists at SBEC are encouraging their clients to meet with them one-on-one at the school. There is also the possibility of more in-person specialized classes.

When more participants come to the SBEC building, there are more opportunities to open Treasures & Such. “It’s just been really energizing working with volunteers again,’ Sr. Dorothy said. “And I am looking forward to interacting more with our participants.”

 

Rita & Kathy clean and organize
Rita & Kathy clean and organize
What can we use--Paul & Tish decide
What can we use--Paul & Tish decide
Judy organizes personal care items
Judy organizes personal care items
A few of the items available in Treasures & Such for the kitchen
A few of the items available in Treasures & Such for the kitchen
Don Feeney offers some tips to first time Treasures & Such shoppers
Don Feeney offers some tips to first time Treasures & Such shoppers
I'd like some good books for my children
I'd like some good books for my children