"She was always smiling. She loved those kids more than anything. Not only was she my sister, but she was also my best friend," Chris Atwood said.
Atwood says coping with his sister's murder has been difficult, but the focus is now on the three children Kristen Parker left behind. Police say Parker was brutally assaulted and killed by Christopher Sharrow, her boyfriend and the father of two of her young children. All three young children were home the night of the attack.
"Shock, still feels like a bad dream. Since the funeral it is a little bit better, the closure of knowing, but still I can't wrap my head around it," said Ashley Wetherby, a family friend.
And while friends and family members continue to try to make sense of the life cut short, numerous fundraisers have been created to help support Parker's three young children, including a four-day bottle drive that began Wednesday morning. But family friends say any type of donation is welcome.
"It's so many things-- it's clothes, it's toys, it's the bank accounts, it's just a stuffed animal so they have something to hold onto and to love," said Melissa West, a family friend.
One-hundred percent of all proceeds will go directly to a Kristen's Angels, the foundation for her children, including the money from ribbon sales that honor Kristen.
"Red being Kristen's favorite color and birth stone," explained Heidi Crandall, a family friend.
And the teal and purple colors to remind the community the dangers of domestic violence.
"Let's hope this helps somebody else that is in the same situation to come forward and not be left in a situation like this. Don't let this happen to somebody else," Crandall said.
Friends describe Parker as a dedicated mother whose smile could brighten up any room.
"She loved her kids more than anything in the whole world. And for them to see that..." said Brooke Trepanier, a family friend.
Trepanier says she hopes the outpouring of support from the community will help show the children the good in mankind.
"I can't imagine what they see behind their eyes when they close them to go to sleep," Trepanier said. "So, they need to know that evil isn't everywhere. That what happened, is not going to happen-- hopefully-- again."
The bottle drive will be going on until Saturday. And it's not the only fundraiser-- there are also raffles, bake sales and numerous locations to drop-off donations.
1. John Piper at Piper's Auto Repair 1 Scale Ave. #41, Rutland, VT 05701
2. Dunkin Donuts 2194 Main St. Castleton, VT 05735
1. Send to: Heritage Family Credit Union Payable to Nancy Parker 13 Memo: Kristen's 3 Angels
2. Amazon Gift Card Donations Email to KristenParkersAngels@yahoo.com
1. Bottle Drive 7/17/13-7/20/13. 10 am-4pm. Corner of Park Ave. and South Main Street - Rutland City.
2. Bake Sale West Rutland Town Hall 7/18/13 starting at 7pm
3. Gun Raffle Tickets $1 or $5 for 8 - on sale at Bottle Drive. Drawing will be August 24th