The singer donates a minivan to a home for needy children in Mexico

By KC Baker
Updated February 22, 2007 08:00 AM

Jessica Simpson has a big fan in Mexico: Mama Lupita, who runs the Casa Hogar Elim orphanage in Nuevo Laredo.

“Last week, someone asked Mama Lupita if she could use a van at the orphanage,” a source close to Simpson tells PEOPLE.

“Mama Lupita said, ‘Of course we could use it.’ So then she was told that she was getting a brand new seven-passenger van from Jessica Simpson for the orphanage.”

Adds the source: “She started to cry for three minutes straight and then said, ‘I can’t wait to give Jessica a big hug.’ ”

Simpson, 26, had won a Chrysler Crossfire sports car at a swag suite at the MTV’s Video Music Awards in the fall, but she asked Chrysler to exchange it for a minivan so she could help out the orphanage, the source says.

A spokesperson for Chrysler confirms: “Instead of the Chrysler Crossfire, she decided to get a minivan for the orphanage instead. She went for the Chrysler Town & Country.”

The van will be delivered early next month.

And Mama Lupita will soon have another reason to give Simpson a hug: The singer is auctioning off the sexy red dress she wears in her new Pizza Hut commercial, which debuted during the Super Bowl.

“She selling the dress on eBay,” says the source. “Proceeds from the dress will also go to help Casa Hogar.”

Why is she doing all of this? “The orphanage means so much to her,” the source says. “She wants to help Mama Lupita and everyone in the orphanage.”