Torch warmed up a chilly Sunday afternoon with Dell’z Love Fest, a benefit for the neighborhood’s favorite lunch and late-night spot, Dell’z Deli. The lounge shed its typical hazy late-night vibe for a cozy gathering featuring music and poetry from Quentin Baxter and Marcus Amaker. Deli patrons and family friends gathered to honor Maudell Grayson (a.k.a. Dell), who was stabbed nine times in front of her sister’s house in West Ashley in October. Her ex-boyfriend, David Israel Smith, was listed as a suspect, and after evading arrest for more than a month and a half, he was found in Las Vegas on Dec. 9 and taken into custody.

“It feels so nice to finally feel free,” Grayson said. “I don’t have to hold my breath when I go to the store now that I know he [Smith] is caught. I just have to thank everyone for their love.”

Even at the start of the event, a heavy crowd kept the atmosphere warm and light-hearted. Grayson and her family greeted guests and thanked the community for their rallied support. There was even a huge ice sculpture mounted on the bar to pay tribute to Dell’s story.