Some in the Ferguson, Missouri community are not letting the demonstrations and violence affect the holiday weekend; in fact, they say they're channeling protests over the Michael Brown case into a force for good.
Her name is Cathy Daniels, but everyone calls her "Mama Cat." The 51 year-old Navy wife was up at 1 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning to cook dinner for her large extended family -- the hundreds of Ferguson protesters she adopted as her own two months ago.
“This is a labor of love for real … food is a strengthener,” Mama Cat said. “So when I can feed my family and we are strong, we are going to be ready for the fight."
She normally cooks for the group on Sundays. But this dinner was special for two reasons -- Thanksgiving, and the first "family meal" since Ferguson erupted Monday night.
“Our souls are bruised but it's not broken,” Mama Cat said. “And it's not a black thing. It's not a white thing. It's not Hispanic, Asian. It's all of us together.”
In Ferguson's scarred downtown, Darcy Edwin and her husband Eddie spent Thanksgiving morning painting hope on the boarded-up reminders of a terrible week.
It's a symbol of unity and strength for Ferguson,” said Eddie Edwin. “I couldn't think of a better way to be with family,
Steve Moore was serving hope at his Celebrity Soul Food restaurant. His Thanksgiving meal was free for any riot victim.
“I’ve also been victimized,” he said. ”I went from 100 percent of business all the way down to 20 percent of business and its just important to let people know there is hope.”
Moore had 18 employees on August 9, the day Michael Brown was killed. Now he has six.
Are you worried no not just about your restaurant but your community and the shape it is in?/
“My community is very important to me, because when they're feeling pain I’m feeling pain,” Moore said, when asked if he was worried not just about his restaurant, but his community and its current condition.
Mama Cat's "family dinner" was also about the love. Dozens of protestors filed in for her Thanksgiving dinner: turkey and collars greens, sweet potato pie and peach cobbler.
"I love the idea of serving them,” she said. “I do… we are going to have a wonderful Thanksgiving as a family."
Their next family reunion will be on the streets of Ferguson.