Benedictine Sisters of Erie Home Home

Treasures & Such Participant Store

As a way of encouraging and acknowledging the accomplishments of the  participants in our program at SBEC they can earn “Benny Bucks” for achieving their goals and meeting weekly requirements. They use these bucks to “purchase” items in our store, Treasures & Such.  We are dependent on the generosity of people like you to help us keep the store stocked.

The majority of our participants are women and men from the United States in need of a more stable economic situation.  Their situations vary. Some have lost their jobs because of down-sizing. Some are trying to return to the labor force after being out of it, for various reasons. Some are trying to create a new and more positive work pattern or history. We continue to have a few refugees in our program. They, too, are preparing for work.

The participants are trying to begin again, and they need support and encouragement. Treasures & Such is one way we try to offer this. Thank you for helping us provide some of the basic items they need to make their daily life a little easier. Thank you for adding a touch of beauty to their lives.

Donations needed for Treasures & Such

Are you moving or downsizing? Do you know someone who is moving or downsizing? Or maybe you are “spring cleaning” and wish to part with unwanted items.

You can help others in need with your donations of household items and personal care items to our “store” – Treasures & Such. Our Wish List identifies donations we especially welcome.

We cannot use the following items: Electronics, books, pillows, bedding, soiled or torn clothing, items not in good working condition, large appliances, large furniture, toy guns and other violent toys/games. Please understand that it is a hardship and expense for us to dispose of these unwelcomed items.

CLICK HERE to inquire about making a donation.

Wish List for Treasures & Such

Cups and mugs
Pots and pans
Small appliances (toasters, coffeemakers, etc.)
Children’s clothes and toys
Toothpaste and toothbrushes
Facial tissues

Volunteer at Treasures & Such

Consider sharing in our ministry at SBEC by becoming a volunteer in our store, Treasures & Such. We can surely use your help.

Responsibilities of the store volunteer

  • To work with a couple other volunteers in the store the days it is open
  • To interact with our participants as they shop or as they help in the store
  • To sort and price items in our storage areas, preparing them to “be sold” in the store when needed
  • To work at our check-out table: Writing down the purchases made by our customers, taking the money (Benny Bucks) and giving change, bagging the items….
  • If interested and available serve on a committee to address a particular need or project

Hours are 9:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Monthly schedules are created around volunteer availability.
One, two, three, four times a month……Whatever a person can offer would be appreciated.

CLICK HERE for a Volunteer Interest Form


Recent Happenings

Treasures & Such: What"s Happening? Why?

Treasures & Such continues to be a center of activity at SBEC.  Store volunteers planned a couple of events to address particular needs of participants and their families.   A special occasion for the workers was also offered.  

Change is Growth

Over the last nine years, Treasures & Such has evolved and changed as requirements from the government and the needs of participants at SBEC have evolved and changed.

Volunteer in Bloom

For the past 20 years, Sue and Geoff McCreary have been turning their outdoor living space at their North East home into a series of beautiful gardens. For the last seven of those years, Sue has taken time from her work at home to volunteer at Treasures & Such, a store for participants in St. Benedict Education Center’s job assistance program.

Current Happenings

Everyone needs affirmation


This story was prepared prior to the COVID-19 crisis.  We wish everyone well:  Stay healthy; Be gentle with yourself and others.  From our SBEC family to yours, Peace.

Everyone needs affirmation: a pat on the back, a kind word or an “attaboy/girl.” At St. Benedict Education Center, besides verbal affirmations, several levels of tangible affirmation have been established.

Stephanie Krauza, MSW, Program Director, was responsible for organizing and refining SBEC’s use of incentives to enhance their effectiveness.  She explains that offering incentives is to encourage participants to learn the skills needed to successfully interview for, obtain and maintain a job.  The value of the incentive increases as the skill developed requires a greater degree of responsibility or accountability.

The initial incentive is “Benny Bucks” (paper money) which can be spent only at St. Benedict Education Center’s Treasures & Such store.  Participants “purchase” a wide variety of purchased or donated, gently used items and a selection of personal care products.  Benny Bucks are earned by showing up on time, attending classes, being considerate of others, completing required hours, etc.  Any staff member who observes such behavior can distribute these bucks.

The next incentive adds a visit to the “Swag Stop”. At this level the items a participant can choose are fewer in number but newly purchased and higher in value.  Items such as new towel or sheet sets, diapers, small appliances (hand mixer, coffee pot, etc.) may be available.  To be eligible for this added incentive one must have reached the “pre-placement level”.  Pre-placement refers to the time when a participant moves into the Community Service phase of the program to fulfill their requirement of working 20-30 hours each week.  A variety of on-site job experiences at SBEC are available. Each person, along with the case manager, determines her/his interests for the on-site job experiences.  Each week, after fulfilling their work requirements, the participant is given the opportunity to visit the Swag Stop, with their case manager, to select one large and two small items.

The final incentive is for “job placement” participants, those who have obtained a job outside of SBEC. For working 80 hours per month a monetary amount is available to help with rent, utilities or transportation. A bill may be presented to the case manager who will pay a designated amount to the landlord or a utilities office. This incentive, provided each month, lasts for seven months, presuming the participant is fulfilling expectations of the program and the job.   A living wage in Erie County for two people in a household with two children is defined as $14.95 an hour, according to Court Gould, vice president of community impact for the Erie Community Foundation (Erie Times-News, February 27, 2020, p. A5).
Minimum wage in Pennsylvania is $7.25 an hour.  Generally, wages for the jobs procured by SBEC participants are in the area of $8.75 as a starting salary.  In addition, financial supports for child care, housing, etc. are decreased once a person has a job. This final incentive for job placement offered by St. Benedict Education Center attempts to provide some assistance during this transition period.  It also offers the opportunity for participants to experience some satisfaction in having a debt paid because of their work.

For those who are developing goals, discovering their way, and seeking to find and maintain a job, these incentives give the individual a hand up and not a hand out.  Don’t we all need some type of relevant affirmation?

Shopping in Treasures & SuchSpending some earned Benny BucksThe SWAG STOP
Some items in the SWAG STOPHelping with a utility billPerhaps we can help with a National Fuel bill
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