Hailey Fort is only 9-years-old but she is already an inspiration to people of all ages. Not even old enough for high school yet and she already spends her free time helping the homeless in more ways than most full-grown adults.
It all started when she was 5 and she saw a homeless man in her hometown. She asked her mom if she could help the man by buying him a sandwich. After her mother said ‘yes’ Hailey never stopped.
Hailey now builds shelters for the homeless and grows food for them too. In fact, this year alone she plans to construct 12 mobile shelters for the homeless community, many of which she considers her good friends.
So who gets the first house this year? Miranda Fort, Hailey’s mom, told ABC News, “She [Hailey] went through all of her homeless friends and made the decision based on a number of things. This shelter doesn’t have a place for a wheelchair, so it wasn’t a good fit for Billy Ray. Similarly, it wasn’t a good fit for her friend Tonka, a dog, and his owner. Edward stuck out because he has always been so gracious when receiving food.”
Hailey and her family have met with local city officials to find a legally appropriate spot for Edward’s house. There are in talks with a few churches that are open to the shelter being placed on their property.
Hailey realizes it’s not just shelter that people need, but food as well. In her garden she grows fruits and vegetables to feed the homeless; she hopes to grow 250 pounds of food this year. Her efforts are tracked through a Facebook page, Hailey’s Harvest. Along with food she has also supplied her homeless friends with 1,000 toiletries, 500 feminine hygiene products, and 100 coats.
“It just doesn’t seem right that there are homeless people. I think everyone should have a place to live.”
Hailey has also made a GoFundMe page to raise more money for her cause. Her original goal was to raise $1,000, but she has well surpassed that with over 25k in donations and growing.
It’s a lot of work for a 9-year-old girl but her friendships with the homeless community push her onward. Her mother said, “Hailey is repeatedly told that she can stop at any time but she continues because this is her passion. I think a lot has to do with setting such high goals and then the rush she gets when she meets them.”
Quentin Fort, Hailey’s father, couldn’t be more proud of his daughter’s selflessness, which “comes from a place which seems foreign to most but seems completely natural to them,” he said.
Her father added, “It is no surprise to me that Hailey is this selfless with Miranda as an example, I am immensely proud of the contributions Hailey has made and will continue to make to her community. I just hope we, as parents, can do enough to satiate her desire to help those in need.”
It only costs $300 to build each shelter thanks to donated supplies. Each shelter is built on wheels so that it remains portable. The walls are made from pallets and packed with recycled denim for insulation. Each structure includes drywall, wood siding, vinyl flooring, a shingled roof, a solar-powered lamp and a front door that locks.