The singer volunteers at food banks and is hosting an auction to benefit Feeding America
“I’ve toured for 20-something years, and I’ve collected a lot of stuff over the course of that time,” Crow tells PEOPLE. “I’ve decided I’m going to start auctioning off clothes, boots, handbags – anything that’s in my closet that no longer gets used is going to go on eBay, and people can buy these items, name brands and otherwise.”
“When I was living in Los Angeles I started working with Feeding America on a campaign,” says Crow, 52. “I wrote a song for them that Jason Mraz and I duetted on.”
“On our first trip to the food bank, my son and I sat down next to a man,” Crow says. “The guy who ran the food bank came over and gave him a pair of boots. My son Wyatt said, ‘Why did he give you boots?’ And the man said, ‘Cause I didn’t have any boots.’ And my son said, ‘Why don’t you have any boots?’ And he said, ‘Cause I can’t get a job.’ And my son said, ‘Why can’t you get a job?’ And the man said, ‘Cause I don’t have any boots.’ For three weeks, my son talked about that experience, of not understanding that having food and a job for some people is a real luxury.”
In order to “be a part of helping people get on their feet,” Crow and her sons stuff boxes and serve meals at local food banks, which she says is one of the most valuable ways to help out.
“It’s not necessarily about writing a check, it’s about showing up and volunteering,” says the star. “After having volunteered in Nashville, you see the kind of people who come into the food bank. It’s not just homeless people, it’s moms who are struggling to feed their kids; it’s people who are out of work. It’s a really necessary entity for a lot of people who are just trying to make ends meet.”
Cleaning out her closet for the sale felt “really good,” and Crow had one important rule: “If you haven’t worn it in the last year, then it needs to go.”
The auction will run through Dec. 11 and features some of the singer’s most prized possessions, like a pair of boots she wore when she was a sophomore in high school – and that she still wore up until two years ago!
“I’ve got over 80 pairs of cowboy boots or boots in general, and I’ve got quite a few pairs of blue jeans,” she says. “There’s going to be a lot of [Ralph Lauren], some Rag & Bone, some Paige – some great name brands that people will be able to get on the cheap, for a good cause!”
“It makes you feel so grateful to have what you have and to be able to help someone else – the feeling that I get from that is much bigger than anything else that I could experience,” Crow says. “It just matters that we take care of each other in our lives.”
• Reporting by LIZ MCNEIL