A little over eight years ago when Hailey Ford was only six years old, she met a homeless man who she learned had not eaten for days. This was during a trip to the grocery store with her mother.
Instead of curiously whispering questions to her mother or carrying on with their errands, Hailey begged her mom to buy a sandwich for the man.
This thoughtful gesture brought tears to the homeless man’s eyes.
It wasn’t just that one encounter that tugged on Hailey’s heart strings either.
When she also met Billy Ray, a veteran who lost his leg during the war, Ford wanted to reach out and help him, too. Her mom had to explain to her that as much as they wanted to and as wonderful the thought was, it wouldn’t be possible to immediately help everyone in need as they weren’t a rich family.
Hearing the explanation made Hailey feel sad but she didn’t abandon the thought of extending a helping hand to others.
That’s when she got her brilliant idea: if buying food for the homeless and the needy wasn’t possible, then perhaps she could just grow the food herself.
Determined to bring her idea to life, Hailey began by reading up on farming and growing vegetables.
Soon, she was ready to start planting.
It took only a few months before she was able to harvest her first batch of vegetables: carrots, potatoes, and soybeans.
That successful batch was given to Billy Ray, the veteran.
The outcome inspired Hailey even more but she didn’t have enough in her garden, so the industrious and kind-hearted little girl decided to grow more vegetables.
Her neighbors loved the idea so much that they jumped in to help. And so with more food growing in her garden, Hailey was able to wash, pack, and hand out more vegetables to those in need.
She even became good friends with the homeless people in the area, all of whom were extremely grateful for her kindness and generosity.
A green thumb and a big heart make for quite the combination!
You’d think Hailey would focus on her garden and continue with her efforts in giving food to the poor, but she didn’t stop there.
She took the next step – and that was to build cabins for the homeless.
The determined girl told her mom,
“They can’t sleep on the streets. People need to have a house.”
While this was a challenging idea that somehow seemed farfetched, Ford insisted on making it happen.
Because she was becoming known for her philanthropic efforts in the community, the local branch of Lowe’s granted Hailey a 50% discount on materials for building cabins. Her family also pitched in by recycling denim and wood for the construction.
More than discounts and a family eagerly helping her out, other people extended their generosity as well. A woman named Katie heard of Hailey’s charitable actions and was so pleased that she made a donation of feminine hygiene supplies to distribute to the homeless, too.
Help just kept coming. During the holidays, Hailey also received a donation worth $3,000 which went to purchasing daily needs for homeless children.
“They called me Santa Claus!”
When her construction efforts came into fruition, the neighborhood came together to help Hailey move her first cabin – the first of many that the young hero is eager to build.
It’s admirable to see such a young girl brimming with ideas on how to make life easier and safer for the homeless.
Hailey didn’t just pitch her ideas – she made them happen one by one and unknowingly inspired more people to help.
Hailey Ford gave the homeless people in her community an opportunity like no other. Her generosity and efforts have helped them regain their footing, and a beautiful headstart towards a better life.
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