By Kevin Murphy
KANSAS CITY, Mo (Reuters) - Cash is not all that is coming from generous people to Joplin, Missouri, which is struggling to recover a crippling May 22 tornado.
Singer and Missouri native Sheryl Crow announced Monday that she is giving up her vintage 1959 Mercedes convertible to help rebuild ten schools destroyed or damaged by the twister.
Crow will have the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster put on the auction block in Pebble Beach, California, on August 22. She has owned the car since 2005.
The auction house, Gooding & Company, estimates the car's value at $50,000 to $80,00 but a spokesperson said it could go for much more, given the Crow connection and the good cause.
"After the tornado in Joplin I was moved to help rebuild a city so close to where I grew up in Missouri," Crow said in announcing the donation Monday. Crow is from Kennett in southeast Missouri and was a teacher before becoming an entertainer.
Proceeds from the car's sale will go to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, which has raised about $2.5 million for 21 different needs in Joplin, including schools and supplies. Crow met with foundation representatives a week ago, said Louise Knauer, foundation vice president.
"She talked about how this has been her favorite car," Knauer said.
Instead of selling it herself she decided to raise awareness of Joplin's needs by putting it up for auction, Knauer said. She hopes to get a plug in for the car in an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Knauer said. Leno is a car collector.
Crow's contribution is among hundreds the foundation has received from sources famous to obscure, Knauer said. Last month, it received $500,000 from the charitable foundation of actor Brad Pitt and his partner Angelina Jolie. Pitt spent much of his youth in Joplin.
Donations from Missourians Crow and Pitt are heartwarming, Knauer said.
"It's just great that they remember their roots and are paying attention," Knauer said.
Numerous professional athletes have made contributions, but so have two kids who sent $45 from a lemonade stand in New York City and a man from Texas who said he was hard up but still sent $5 to buy a box of cereal for the tornado homeless, foundation records show.
The foundation has received donations from people in nearly every state as well as several foreign countries, Knauer said.
The May 22 tornado took 159 lives and destroyed about 30 percent of Joplin, a city of about 50,000 residents. It was the deadliest tornado in the United States in more than 60 years.
(Editing by Greg McCune)