July 26, 2011 / 7:48 PM / 8 years ago

Sheryl Crow donates Mercedes to help tornado victims

KANSAS CITY, Mo (Reuters) - Singer and Missouri native Sheryl Crow is auctioning her vintage Mercedes convertible to help rebuild ten schools destroyed or damaged by a deadly May tornado in the town of Joplin.

Crow will have the 1959 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 $80,000 but 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 a statement on 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 Joplin causes, 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.

She hopes to get a plug in for the car in an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”, Knauer said. Leno is an avid car collector.

Crow’s contribution is among hundreds 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.

“It’s just great that they remember their roots and are paying attention,” 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

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