Kindness of strangers helps Ferguson begin recovery

FERGUSON, Mo. -- In Ferguson's scarred downtown, Darcy Edwin and her husband Eddie spent Thanksgiving morning painting a bit of hope on the boarded-up reminders of a terrible week, after outrage over the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case.

"It's a symbol of unity and strength of Ferguson," Eddie Edwin said. "I couldn't think of a better way to spend Thanksgiving than, obviously, with my wife and family."

Reverend Shanda Evans and her daughter Zuri brought coffee and doughnuts. They drove five-and-a-half hours from Indiana to join the peaceful protestors.

Steve Moore was serving hope at his Celebrity Soul Food restaurant. His Thanksgiving meal was free for any riot victim.

"When they're feeling pain, I'm feeling pain," Moore said. "Cause it could have been my building that got burned down. But with the grace of God just sparing this place, I feel their pain."

Vandals found Natalie's Cakes &More, then a photo of owner Natalie Dubose weeping went viral. 7,200 strangers have donated $233,0000 online to help her reopen.

Celebrity Soul Food needs help, too. Business is down 80 percent since Michael Brown was killed Aug 9. Moore had 18 employees. Now he has six. He's had to stand guard against vandals and looters.

"I've been staying in my car and going home for a few hours to shower, and hoping and praying that my business is still in safe place," Moore said. "Nights get very scary and get very lonely because you don't know who these people are."

One Thanksgiving visitor to Moore's restaurant said she has guarded her home with two loaded guns, but came to dinner unarmed.

She said she just couldn't see herself carrying a gun on Thanksgiving.

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann was named CBS News Transportation correspondent in August 2011. He has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001, and is based in the Atlanta bureau.