One-person tents, men’s boxers and prepaid cell phones are not things you would normally find on a little girl’s wish list. But 9-year-old Hailey Fort is anything but ordinary.
At the age of just 6 years old, Fort began a fruit and vegetable garden after asking her mother how she could help a homeless man she saw on the street in her hometown in Kitsap County, Washington. The effort is now known as “Hailey’s Harvest.”
In 2014, Fort’s original goal was to grow 55 pounds of fresh produce to give away to the needy. She has since donated an estimated 128 pounds of fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, berries, peppers, peas, beans and more.
“Hailey’s goals have grown for the 2015 season,” Hailey’s mother wrote on the Hailey’s Harvest Facebook page. “She hopes to grow 250 pounds of food, along with handing out 1,000 toiletries, 500 feminine hygiene products, 100 coats, and as many sleeping shelters as she can find space for.”
My goal for the year is 250 pounds of fresh food
Fort has substantially grown her charitable giving from a hobby to an organized cause. She continues to support the homeless in her neighborhood by partnering with existing organizations and coordinating donations of everything from toiletries to winter coats to portable showers.
Her next project to help the homeless focuses on providing portable living spaces to those in need of shelter. The first recipient is a man named Edward. Fort hopes to build 12 of these portable shelters by the end of the year.
Fort has captured the attention and hearts of many, as donations pour in from across the nation. A GoFundMe page has also been set up in her name, which has surpassed its target goal of $40,000.
Although she couldn’t quite pronounce it, the 9-year-old told KOMO News that when she grows up she wants to be a “philanthropist.” When prompted by a journalist to explain what that means, she said she wants to be “someone that takes care of other people.”
Many of those she has helped and inspired believe she already is one.