Nicki and Dick Benz

Daily Point of Light # 5056 Oct 1, 2013

Nicki Benz of Jackson, MS, sat in her living room years ago amazed at what she was watching on the news—women in prison being physically and verbally abused.  The guard on the screen yelled at one young lady, asking why she kept landing up in prison.


At that moment, Nicki decided to dedicate her life to showing former female inmates they are “treasures.” In 1999 she and her husband, Dick, began a ministry in that same prison once every week, but Nicki found herself eventually going back every day.

After Nicki saw the spiritual progress in so many of the women, the Benzes began bringing women into their home, so the women would have a place to stay and plan their next steps. As the number of women grew, the couple opened Buried Treasures Home

The home strives to be a place women can go after leaving prison to realize that “they are not trash, they are treasures,” as Nicki explains. Because so many women have no place to go upon their release, Buried Treasures Home gives women and their children a place to live for up to a year. During that time, women receive opportunities to earn their GEDs, earn scholarships to community college, study the Bible and reintegrate into society.

Buried Treasures Home sits by a lake on 65 acres, where women can get some fresh air, ride horses, exercise and reflect. Dick runs the home with Nicki, who describes him as “the rock for these women,” a strong male figure that has been absent from many of the women’s lives. He also tends to the residents’ needs by bringing them groceries, starting activities or just sparking conversation.

Both in their 70s, the Benzes see the home as their calling from God. “We can’t change anyone, but we can give them the right atmosphere,” Nicki said.

More than 100 women have lived at Buried Treasures Home. While some stay for as little as 30 minutes, many stay for the entire year, becoming part of a community. One of the residents wrote to Nicki in a letter during her stay, “I’m sitting here looking at the lake, praising God for His beautiful creation. I believe this is holy ground.”  

Dev Staff