Most kids are too busy playing with their friends and catching up on homework to take on a mission for the greater good. But for Hailey Ford, she was desperate to do what she could to help the homeless in her hometown of Kitsap County, Washington.
Way back in 2016, when Hailey was just six, she began growing food for the homeless. Hailey had been spurred on by a meeting she had had with a homeless man called Edward. Edward was at the grocery store that Hailey and her mom were visiting, and Hailey was so upset to see him hungry that she begged for her mom to buy him something to eat.
When Hailey presented Edward with a sandwich, he cried tears of gratitude. It was at that moment that Hailey knew she had to do something to help the homeless.
Hailey started to pay more attention to the people who lived on the streets in her community. Not long after her meeting with Edward, she met Billy Ray. The former veteran had lost a leg in the war. Again, Hailey asked her mom if she could help him, but her mom explained that it wasn’t possible for them to help everyone, because she herself didn’t have a lot of money.
This may have deterred some children, but for Hailey, it became a challenge – how could she provide for the homeless without endangering her own family’s financial situation? And that’s when she decided on growing her own produce.
Hailey learned everything she needed to know about growing vegetables. Having no experience in gardening, she turned to books to teach her how to “grow more in less space”.
It only took a couple of months for Hailey’s plan to take action. She grew her first crop of vegetables, and presented Billy Ray with a batch of carrots, potatoes and soybeans.
As her popularity grew, more and more people began to learn of Hailey’s growing efforts. Her friends and neighbors began to help out, and Hailey had even more food coming from her garden to give to the homeless.
While Hailey started off with a tiny patch of land, it has since grown to cover several little plots in a community garden. Hailey, now green-fingered and something of a gardening expert, has grown all sorts of vegetables over the years, including green beans, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes.
By anyone’s standards, Hailey had already gone above and beyond what was expected of a girl her age. But she didn’t stop there.
Her next mission was to give the homeless their own individual sheltered homes to rest in at night. She had realized that those who lived on the streets had a bigger problem than hunger. Many of them didn’t have a safe place to sleep.
So Hailey began to build little cabins for her community. Her tiny homes are only big enough for a person to sit or lie in, but for Hailey, that was her intention: to provide a sheltered place off the streets.
By this point, Hailey’s actions had caught so much attention that people began to donate to her. One woman, named Katie, was so inspired by Hailey that she donated feminine hygiene products to the young girl, which she could then deliver to the homeless women who needed them.
Hailey was also donated money, which she used for various purchases of canned food and clothing. One kind donation of $3,000 was spent on thick winter coats for homeless children. Hailey made sure that everyone was able to benefit from her voluntary service.
Now 16 years old, Hailey has made an incredible difference to her local community. Her tiny vegetable growing mission has turned into something that she probably never expected herself. A GoFundMe was set up in her name in 2015, and has received a steady stream of donations for the homeless since. So far, on the GoFundMe alone, $67,930 has been raised.
Amidst all her voluntary work and school, it’s a wonder Hailey has time for anything else. But if you think she uses her free time for relaxation, you’d be wrong! Hailey recently shared a video of herself playing the cello in an audition for the Philharmonic. She wrote:
“Playing music and art are what I do outside of school and Hailey’s Harvest.”
Tonight I had the incredible opportunity to audition for the Philharmonic. Playing music and art are what I do outside of school and Hailey’s Harvest.
Posted by Hailey’s Harvest on Sunday, 2 December 2018
Is there anything that this incredible young girl can’t do?!
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