Prairie Crocus helps fund needed programs


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This article was published 10/03/2021 (814 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Janice Howard is a Windsor Park resident who is passionate about her day job. She is a manager at the Prairie Crocus Thrift, which raises funds for free counselling and addictions programs in Winnipeg.

When Howard initially applied for the job three years ago, she wasn’t sure they would see her as the right fit.

“I am a little bit different because I am full of tattoos and I have a very outgoing attitude,” she says.

Supplied photo (From left) Kari Keam of RE/ACT Finding Freedom Program, Tony Pare (board member), Soutdale MLA Audrey Gordon and Janice Howard, store manager, are pictured at Prairie Crocus Thrift.

But she had ideas to grow the store and raise more funds.

“They do take chances on people. They took a chance with me,” she says.

The thrift store sells items to raise funds for the RE/ACT Finding Freedom program and Riverwood House. RE/ACT is a 12-week counselling program that focuses on healing trauma to manage and overcome addictions. Riverwood House is a recovery housing facility being constructed on Talbot Avenue.

Getting to know more about the programming has motivated Howard to help grow the thrift store and raise more funds.

“The people that I have been around in my life have always had trauma – trauma or addictions,” she explains. “A lot of people I know still struggle.”

She has worked hard to create a clean, positive and inviting space in the store. She said it’s important to her that everyone – regardless of their budget – feels like they are getting a quality shopping experience. Before COVID-19, people could sing karaoke or play on the store’s piano to earn a discount.

“Anything that will make you feel good, we will give you a discount,” she says. Fun music plays on the store’s speakers and on ‘Maggie Mondays,’ service dog Maggie comes to visit with customers. Howard said it has been satisfying to see the customer base grow alongside sales.

Debbie Nightingale is a store volunteer who went through the 12-week RE/ACT program. When asked how the program affected her, she said she is much happier.

“I can smile now. I am a different person.”

Nightingale says the programming gave her the ability to work through challenges and build a support network.

“I can deal with a lot more stuff and I have people to talk to.”

Nightingale says the pandemic has highlighted the importance of having these types of programs in the city.

“We can really benefit from this,” she says.

Prairie Crocus Thrift Store is located at 1-919 McLeod Ave. and accepts donations during weekdays. Howard says donating – items or money – is a great way to support local programming.

“These dollars stay in Manitoba,” she says.

To learn more about the RE/ACT Finding Freedom program visit To learn about Riverwood House visit

Audrey Gordon

Audrey Gordon
Southdale constituency report

Audrey Gordon is the PC MLA for Southdale.

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