Dunklin Democrat - Articolo sul Birthday Drive 2004, 13 febbraio 2004

Friday, February 13, 2004
Brian E. Rodriguez

Sheryl Crow fans came together internationally to help raise nearly $11,000 for the Delta Childrens Home with the fourth annual birthday drive hosted by the Sheryl Crow web site.

The fans came together to raise $10,775.46 for Crow's 42nd birthday through donations.

"I can not begin to tell you how it touches me that you guys collect for the Delta Children's Home each year for my birthday," Crow said on the forum page of her web site. "It means the world to me and I know it matters to the kids there. We are really trying to get enough money to buy the companion house that was once part of the pre-existing children's home there. The money you've raised will be put to excellent use."

The birthday drive began Dec. 28 and lasted until Crow's birthday, Feb. 11.

The drive used incentive prizes like Sheryl Crow CDs, posters, books and guitar picks donated by fans to draw more attention to the annual drive.

This year's grand prize, a Takamine guitar to be autographed by Crow, was won by Ray Tomany of Kildile, Ireland.

A post on the fan forum by the Delta Childrens Home Board said some fans include notes with their contributions that show they do not donate just to win the prizes.

"The notes I get in with the money are really heartfelt," said Delta Childrens Home board member Jim Baker. "They weren't doing it just to win something. Their hearts were in the right place."

A further display of heartfelt caring from Crow's fans was shown by the grand prize winner.

After notification of his prize, Tomany asked that after the guitar was signed, it would be put up for auction to further help the Delta Childrens Home.

The fan forum began using PayPal for donations this year, a method of paying with credit or debit cards over the Internet.

Dempsey estimated 50 percent of the donations this year came through a PayPal account.

"PayPal has been a really big help," Baker said. "It just simplifies things."

One reason the account was set up was to simplify currency conversion from other countries. With the PayPal account, the entire donation goes to the Delta Childrens Home without requiring a currency conversion fee for the donations made in foreign currencies.

Baker said money had to be converted or made in money orders to send oversees, or the Childrens Home had to have a local bank send it to a clearing house to convert it to U.S. currency.

"We were real happy when we got $10,000," said Gregg Dempsey, Crow's fan forum moderator. "Then we were even happier when we ended near $11,000."

The birthday drive raised $15,323 in 2003, $5,841 in 2002, and nearly $1,800 in 2001, after Peggy Sikarinthra of Roscoe, Ill. posted the idea for the drive on Crow's forum page.

Dempsey attributed last year's higher sum to a new album release and more touring to draw attention to Crow's web site.

The birthday drive has raised about $33,700 in its four years.

"That's an impressive sum from all over the world," Dempsey said.

"This is money that's come in from all over the world and we're going to get to use it right here," Baker said.

"You guys are the best, most generous fans anyone could ever hope for," Crow posted on the forum page. "I consider you my dear friends."

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