ALBANY, N.Y. – The kitchen was humming with movement, food and music, as volunteers cleaned dishes, cooked chicken and served string-beans at Tonette Thomas's emergency fundraiser.
Tonette Thomas, 20, was a victim of Monday's triple stabbing in Albany, and passed away in an alley near her home.
Tonette was a 2010 Albany High School graduate, and a culinary arts major at Schenectady Community College. Family members say she was very close to her sister, Shaquasia.
Shaquasia was in the process of trying to get a restraining order against suspect Michael Anderson before the attack against her, her sister Tonette and their aunt, Gwynn Carter, took place.
The fundraiser was held at the Reigning Life Family Church, at 33 Rensselaer Street in Albany, as a means of raising money for Tonette's funeral costs.
Many stopped in to purchase a dinner, and left donations on top of their purchases.
"I'm so inspired by the outpour in our community," said an organizer, Willie White, as he collected money from an outstretched hand. "Most people don't even want the dinner. They just want to make a donation, which is so inspiring."
"We're all Willie's disciples," said a fellow volunteer, looking over her shoulder at him. "He really gathers people together when it matters."
Willie smiled and hugged her shoulder.
"We're just doing a small part of what needs to be done in our community," said White.
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