Hailey has been building things for most of her life, whether it’s helping out her mom, Miranda, with home projects, consulting with her grandfather, who’s a contractor, or tinkering on her own… Miranda and her husband, Quentin, banned Hailey from using power saws and let her work for only about an hour each day, so the house—which has windows, insulation, and solar panels for electricity—took several months to complete. “If she had her way, she would work on them all day,” Miranda says.
The shelters are an expansion of Hailey’s Harvest, a charity that the then-6-year-old began in 2012…Hailey has donated hundreds of pounds of produce from the garden she tends.
Now that Hailey is also custom-building tiny houses, she needs to raise even more money. Thanks to donated materials, including flooring and shingles, the first shelter cost only about $400. Hailey raises money through her GoFundMe campaign. It surpassed $45,000 last fall, and her parents keep increasing it with every goal she meets. “Hailey’s received a lot of donations from people,” Miranda said, “but the actual gardening and harvesting and the building has been her.”
And the Forts want the driving force behind Hailey’s Harvest to be Hailey. “At any point if she wants to stop, she can stop,” Miranda said. “There’s no pressure for her to keep going.” But Hailey has set her own goals—to grow and donate hundreds of pounds of food this summer, and to build at least 10 shelters in the next two years.
Her family is coordinating with local churches to find a place to park the shelters, which have wheels for easy transportation.