Friday, January 15, 2016
JILL HYDE, Daily Dunklin Democrat
In 2001, fans of the Sheryl Crow wanted to do something special for her birthday. On the Sheryl Crow Fan Forum, after much discussion, they decided to contribute to her favorite charity, the Delta Children's Home.
The first year, fans managed to raise $1,600. The second year, with the help of Crow's Fan Forum Moderator Gregg Dempsey, the event became more organized. The first year of the birthday drive, someone donated a 12-string acoustic guitar to be given away. Dempsey took the guitar all the way to Los Angeles for Crow to sign. A tradition had been born. In the 15 years that the birthday drive has been operating, Dempsey assisted with helping to raise nearly $200,000.
Fans began gearing up for the birthday drive this year around the beginning of December, but fans and friends of Crow's suffered a shock New Year's Eve when Dempsey unexpectedly died from complications that resulted from a back surgery. The Sheryl Crow Birthday Drive will continue because that is what Dempsey would have expected, but the event proceeds with many a heavy heart, as the void left by Dempsey will be a difficult one to fill.
By Jan. 11, fans had already managed to raise $3,700. This year the drive is dedicated to Dempsey and Crow is asking fans to surpass the most successful year, 2014 when they raised $15,400, to honor her beloved friend.
This year the guitar that those who donate have a chance to win is a sonic blue limited edition American Standard Telecaster, with custom shop pickups. Those that make a donation to Delta Children's Home will automatically be entered for a chance to win.
There are other prizes that are available throughout the event, such as signed CDs. Margareta Lidskog of Swedart recently donated a medium sized Lapland custom made bracelet, made of caribou leather that Birthday Drive organizers will be holding a drawing for Tuesday, Jan. 23.
The winner of the guitar will be announced the day after the drive ends, Friday, Feb. 12.
According to Jim Baker, the Birthday Drive coordinator for the Delta Children's Home, this year's first donation was from a young woman in Israel. "Donations pour in from all over the United States and 17 different countries. What makes this so unusual is that it was the fans that put this drive together and the fans that operate it and run it. There is a team of people handling the Forum this year, since Dempsey is no longer with us."
That is the way he would have wanted it.
There are several ways to make donations to the Delta Children's Home. Contributions can be made through PayPal at SherylDCH@yahoo.com or by mailing cash or check to the Delta Children's Home-Birthday Drive, P.O. Box 573, Kennett, Missouri, 63857.
SOURCE: Daily Dunklin Democrat