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9-year-old grows hundreds of pounds of food for the homeless and builds them tiny homes

By 9 years old, Hailey Fort had done more for her Kitsap County community than most adults.

Hailey had learned about the struggles facing the homeless population at a very young age.

“I was out with my mom and saw this man on the side of the road,” she recalled.

“I asked her what he was doing there, and she told me he was homeless.”

At six years old, Hailey didn’t fully understand what being homeless meant until her mother, Miranda Fort, explained that the gentleman sitting on the side of the road likely didn’t have a home or enough food to eat – and that was all Hailey needed to hear to want to help

Hailey and her mother purchased a sandwich for the man that day, but neither of them could have predicted where this small act of kindness would guide them.

After learning about the struggles faced by the homeless, Hailey was inspired to plant a garden.

She figured it would be a simple way to provide healthy food for the people who needed it most.

While Hailey’s mother Miranda helped with caring for the garden in the beginning, by nine years old, Hailey had taken on the responsibility all by herself.

As a result of this dedication, she has consistently been able to donate hundreds of pounds of vegetables to the homeless each year.

In 2015, Hailey estimated that she spent roughly an hour tending to the garden each day in addition to the time she spent delivering the food.

While this seems like a lot for your average nine-year-old, Hailey was completely content – so much so, in fact, that her gardening initiative, known as Hailey’s Harvest, soon became a side project for something even bigger.

That same year, in 2015, thanks to a $3,000 grant from the non-profit organization Rise Together, Hailey started building small shelters for the homeless in her community.

Using plans designed by her grandfather, Hailey helped build a 32-square-foot, wooden house big enough for a person to lie down comfortably.

The home, which is insulated and comes with a window and locking door, was the first of twelve that Hailey had planned to build that year.

According to Miranda Fort, the cost to build each home is only $300 as a result of generous supply donations from the community.

While this would be a remarkable feat for any nine-year-old, Hailey still has bigger dreams.

“Well, I want to try and make a place where people can come and sleep in for a couple of nights like the Salvation Army … only bigger!”

Hailey’s mother says that Hailey considers the homeless people in their community to be her friends, and she believes it is this love that keeps her daughter inspired through all that she does.

“Hailey is repeatedly told that she can stop at any time, but she continues because this is her passion,” Miranda told ABC News.

“I think a lot has to do with setting such high goals and then the rush she gets when she meets them.”

While there haven’t been many recent updates on Hailey, it’s clear that even now, at 14 years old, Hailey’s still helping the people who need it most.

In a post from February of last year, the young teenager described having a meeting with Senator Rolfes to discuss the options for affordable housing in their district.

Learn more about Hailey’s Harvest in the video below!

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