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St. Louisans From Far and Wide Clean Up Ferguson After Protests

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Photos by Mitch Ryals
A group of volunteers clean up trash on West Florissant Avenue Wednesday morning.
Nighttime in north county is mired with heated confrontations between protesters and police, but during the day people from all over the city come to clean up.

Though looting ended on Sunday, nightly protests persist, and broken glass and garbage -- not all left over from protests -- line the streets.

About 100 people gathered at First Baptist Church in Ferguson Wednesday to clean up trash and ask business owners what other help they need. One volunteer passed out "I Heart North County" signs before the group dispersed. People traveled from places including Arnold, Winfield, St. Charles and St. Peters to help. After a brief prayer, half of the group went to South Florissant Road near the Ferguson police station, and half went to West Florissant Avenue where the looting took place Sunday night.

See all Riverfront Times' coverage of the protests in Ferguson.

The West Florissant crew started at the Taco Bell near Chambers Road and worked its way down toward the charred QuikTrip and the boarded-up Ferguson Liquor Store.

Carmen Kenton, a Jennings resident, spoke with Que Qualls, manager of Advance Auto Parts, as she swept up shattered glass and cigarette butts in front of the store. Qualls said the store took a $28,000 hit after protesters broke the front window and stole merchandise. Normally the store stays open until 9 p.m., but it has been closing at 7 p.m. for the past few days.

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Photo by Mitch Ryals
Derrick Thomas and his neighbors Bernice and Steve Deardeuff live in the thick of things on West Florissant.
Cars drove by and honked in support of the effort, and 68-year-old Bernice Deardeuff rang a cowbell while her son, Steve, applauded from their back yard, which backs up to West Florissant. Steve Deardeuff has gotten up early every morning since the protests on West Florissant, and he's started to pick up glass and garbage on the side of the street.

"I've lived here for 60 years," Bernice Deardeuff said, and she's never seen anything like what's gone on for the past few days. "I'm a little nervous, but we have wonderful neighbors." She said she'll never move.

Derrick Thomas grew up in the same subdivision as Deardeuff.

"It ain't us," Thomas said. "We never had no problems in this neighborhood, never had trouble. Now you got people from other neighborhoods coming in and tearing our stuff up."

Thomas said he's worried for his mother who has lived in the subdivision since 1975, but he said she won't leave Ferguson either. So far, the protesters haven't damaged any homes in the subdivision, but Thomas suspects the demonstrations aren't over.

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Photo by Mitch Ryals
Dan Pisciotta and his buddy Gerald Nickerson II pick up more than protest trash on West Florissant.
"This is one big family out here," said Dan Pisciotta, one of the men who joined the effort. Pisciotta grew up in Florissant but recently moved to St. Charles. "This used to be our area," he said. "Our old stomping grounds. It's heartbreaking to see it like this, but good to see some of the positive stuff going on."

The three men borrowed gloves and trash bags from the group that left from First Baptist Church and continued to pick up trash. Other members of the community who saw the volunteers joined too. Thirty minutes after the first group of volunteers arrived, the effort on West Florissant doubled in number.

Joe Costephens, a pastor at Passage Church in Florissant, organized the original group that gathered at First Baptist Church. He said the clean-up effort will be ongoing as needed.

"What we saw on the news, the riots, that's not the heart of Ferguson, that's not the people who live in Ferguson," he said. "And so we want what is north county to be known."

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29 comments
markie19
markie19 topcommenter


11 days ago

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DeleteShareLikeReplymarkie19Jul 20, 2014

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markie1918 hours ago


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Cyndi Foulks
Cyndi Foulks

Blessings to all of you who are working to clear out the negativity of this situation!!

Gerri Irons
Gerri Irons

I think the people that reck the place should be out there cleaning up what they destroyed .

Jane Breen
Jane Breen

You know what... It's a start in the right direction.... Stop already with the negative... These people deserve credit.

Larry Hood
Larry Hood

been on fox twice link on web and i watch all the net works (my city)

Kathy Dutra
Kathy Dutra

Lisa is this all going on near either of the two places you and Cory lived in St. Louis?

Dawn Rednour
Dawn Rednour

That was nice of them to do but it won't solve the underlying problem

Kathy Carroll Doran
Kathy Carroll Doran

Pull them out of jail and make them clean up their own mess, just like you make your kids clean up the messes they make.

Steve Wingenbach
Steve Wingenbach

Do you think those lazy fuckers that fucked their city up would clean it up i don't think so just a few outsiders that really care

Alison Dreith
Alison Dreith

Took 24 cases of water today and 6 bags of food to St Stephens.

Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas

because cockroaches don`t come out when you turn the lights on

Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas

hey,i live in shit neighborhood too,if we loot and riot will somebody else from outside my neighborhood come clean it up??

Ami Sherman
Ami Sherman

Why should anyone have to come clean up after them? You would think with them being upstanding, law abiding citizens they wouldn't come into a community they're trying to have a positive change on and leave a mess with litter and more destruction. Seems to me the "peaceful" protesters have the same mentality as the looters...and that speaks volumes!!!

Roy Johnson
Roy Johnson

I "liked" this until I saw a picture of the racist black guy in the yellow shirt. He's a complete opportunist racist.

Karen Hall
Karen Hall

God bless al thes good people, keep them safe. Keep up the great work!

Dawn Hollie Skaggs
Dawn Hollie Skaggs

Keep the positive photos, I'm in Florissant. This is article is about the true heart of NoCo.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

hmmm... says someone that probably doesn't watch fox, so how would they know?

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

lmao. you mean sick of all the RFT's posts about it?

Pam Pajunen Farley
Pam Pajunen Farley

Thank you for not dwelling on only the negative stories that other media outlets are beating like a drum.

Michael Kyro
Michael Kyro

That's is a really great gesture...maybe they should get all the looters that were arrested and have them help.....like the prison chain gangs in the south..

John Nagel
John Nagel

Only outsiders will clean up their mess I would like to see them helping

Veronica Naiomi Rush
Veronica Naiomi Rush

It's not dangerous. The neighborhood is very quiet in the day. I helped clean up yesterday.

Karl Richards
Karl Richards

Shout out to Alison Dreith for putting together a last minute hydration donation plan for the Ferguson efforts!

Cheri Cottom O'Moran
Cheri Cottom O'Moran

Finally something positive... I'm so sick and tired of the negative info..

Rosanne Falbo
Rosanne Falbo

You know this story will never appear on fox.

Cameron Jolley
Cameron Jolley

I like this this the only story u libs have posted to try and help this

Candice Duvall
Candice Duvall

I would like to help! Seems really dangerous though?

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