9-Year-old girl pays it forward one homeless shelter at a time

Jun 2, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. ET
Image: KING-TV 5 News/NBC

What were some of your favorite pastimes growing up? While many of her peers are off playing outside, a local Washington girl has taken it upon herself to serve her community in an unbelievable way.

What would you do if you noticed people in your community without food or shelter? Would you lend a helping hand or look the other way?

One young girl has made the decision to put her savvy for gardening and home improvement where her heart is.

Hailey Fort is not your typical 9-year-old and has accomplished some pretty amazing things thus far in her life. KING-TV 5 News reveals her Good Samaritan ways began years ago after encountering a homeless man on the street with her mother. Purchasing him a sandwich to eat, Hailey started to think how she could help more people in need — which led to creating a garden that supports a local food bank. Her endeavors have allowed her to donate close to 130 pounds of food just last year.

Now she has her eyes set on a bigger project that will take love, determination and supplies.

"I'm building a mobile sleeping shelter," Hailey reveals.

Putting her home improvement skills to good use, Hailey has been working on a mobile shelter for the homeless. The 8 x 4-foot structure is fully insulated, with just enough space for a person in need to have protection against the elements.

"It just doesn't seem right that there are homeless people," says Hailey. "I think everyone should have a place to live."

As a result of her efforts, Hailey received a $3,000 grant from the organization Together Rising that she'll use to build 11 more mobile shelters. The average cost of a single unit is $300. She also receives a significant discount on materials from a local Lowe's Home Improvement store.

"If she had her way, we'd have mobile sleeping shelters taking up our front lawn," says Hailey's mom, Miranda.

Hailey is not only an amazing little girl but a shining example of how random acts of kindness can impact the lives of others. Not held back by her age or the magnitude of her dreams, she continues to raise the bar when it comes to humanitarianism in her community.

I can remember helping my mother on a Habitat for Humanity project when I was in my teens — and I thought that was challenging!

Those interested in Hailey's story are encouraged to visit her Facebook page, Hailey's Harvest, to learn more about her journey to help others, along with her gardening and donation goals. You can also check out her GoFundMe page to make a financial contribution. Hailey's current goal is to raise $1,000 so she can continue with her endeavors.

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