“I’ve been into giving all my life,” said single father Derrick Brown who is also the chief financial officer of Stopping Crys, an Inglewood-based organization dedicated to helping L.A. County’s financially challenged and homeless population maintain good hygiene.
Brown was recently one of four community advocates who received the MolinaCares Community Champion Award. Each recipient received $5,000 for their organization, which Brown put back into community, he said.
“We have three events, three times a week,” Brown explained. “There is ‘Touching Hearts Tuesdays,’ ‘No More Tears Thursdays’ and ‘Shelter Saturdays.’”
At each event, Brown and his team, which includes his eldest adult daughter, provide complete hygiene kits as well as information about the importance of good hygiene and public health.
A lot of illnesses like hepatitis and COVID can run rampant in the homeless community, which can affect everybody, Brown said.
“Having good hygiene protects us all,” he said.
Kits are tailored toward individual needs, Brown said, but each one usually includes soap, toothpaste, a tooth brush, a comb and brush, hand sanitizer and a face mask.
Brown and his oldest daughter started the organization in 2020 by using a variety of fundraising methods, including Go Fund Me, proceeds from an online business, T-shirt sales and applying for different grants.
“As Stopping Crys grew, more donations started coming in,” he said. “We even started a fundraiser with Krispy Kreme, where if you donate $10, you get a gift card that doesn’t expire for a dozen donuts.”
“When Molina reached out to me about the award I was excited and honored,” he said.
“The MolinaCares Community Champions Award is such an important way to recognize those who are truly making a difference in California’s whole health outcomes,” said Abbie Totten, plan president of Molina Healthcare of California.
“We are proud to recognize our MolinaCares Champions, and we are pleased to provide a total of $20,000 in grants to their chosen community based organizations.”
“In addition to coordinating numerous community programs, Derrick helped Stopping Cry’s donate to many local organizations, including the Midnight Mission, Rodney King Foundation, La Mesa Shelter and more,” added MolinaCares officials of why Brown received the award.
“From handling funding to purchasing hygiene items for those in need to handling the shipping of merchandise to donors, Derrick is nothing short of a hero – revered by those around him, showing young men how to have a productive life despite coming from poverty. Derrick’s willingness to go above and beyond sets him apart even from other Stopping Cry’s board.”
Currently, Brown is working on a partnership with the Inglewood School Board, which will help students from financially challenged families with their hygiene needs.
“We want to create an environment where youth can open up without worrying about getting bullied,” Brown explained.
Visit Stopping Cry’s on Instagram and Facebook for more information.