Many storefronts in Ferguson have been boarded up with plywood. Some are temporary fixes for windows broken during chaotic demonstrations, while other stores boarded up as a preventative measure.
“You know the plywood is kind of depressing,” said Ferguson Resident Leah Bailey.
On Thanksgiving, her family did something about the depressing boards -- painted murals. Bailey says she can’t imagine spending her Thanksgiving any other way.
“You know I’m not anxious to head over to parents and sit down and have dinner with everybody," Bailey said. "Really if I had my choice, we would spend the rest of the day here painting. It feels like we shouldn’t stop to go continue on with our regular lives -- that we should be doing what we can to help rebuild.
The Baileys were not alone in their effort. Ferguson resident Darcy Edwin worked on a mural in font of Ferguson Optical. Edwin says this is her way to give back.
“We really felt compelled to do something to help, but we don’t have the answers to fix the greater problems that not just Ferguson but the country is facing right now. So this is just a really small thing that we can do to show support and love to Ferguson right now.”
Edwin says she hopes to paint more murals in the coming weeks. Leah Bailey says she'd like to clean up and paint on West Florissant Avenue once it's open. The street, which was hit hard by vandalism Monday, is currently closed down.
A needed meal
While some spent Thanksgiving painting, many spent the holiday eating, including the dozens of people who enjoyed a holiday meal at the Wellspring Church for its annual community Thanksgiving.
Wellspring Pastor Willis Johnson says this holiday is needed.
“This has been necessary because so much has disbanded us, so much has locked us in and locked us out,” he said. “This almost, at least for me, is freeing. It’s the one thing that is sure. I don’t have to worry about anything because I’m with family … and maybe just for a few hours I don’t even have to care; and that’s important, not just today, but it’s something I haven’t been able to do for the last 108.”
This was Paris Billops first Thanksgiving at Wellspring Church. She said this year she’s especially grateful.
“Because of everything that did happen, it was really frightening. It could have been a lot worse. So for everyone to still be here and to be supportive, it felt really good.”