Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Eco Kids Column November 2016: Meet Hailey Fort, 9-Year-Old Humanitarian and Eco Hero


(By Wong Ee Lynn <wongeelynn@yahoo.com / gl.mnselangor@yahoo.com>
Compiled and edited from Bored Panda at www.boredpanda.com. All photo credits: Bored Panda)
Although Hailey Fort is only 9 years old, she has already done more to help the homeless and needy than many adults ever have. This inspiring young lady spends her free time building mobile shelters for the homeless, and even grows food and provides toiletries for them.
When Hailey was 5 years old, she asked her mother, Miranda, about helping a homeless man she saw in Bremerton, Washington, where she lives. Her mother said yes, and now they work together to help the needy. The man she helped, Edward, has become her friend. She builds the shelters, “so then you don’t get rained on and you feel safe and stay dry.” “It just doesn’t seem right that there are homeless people,” Hailey told King 5 News. “I think everyone should have a place to live.”
This year, Hailey's goal is to grow 250lbs (113kg) of food, build 12 shelters, and delivers thousands of toiletries and hygienic items. You can help her by contributing to her GoFundMe campaign at https://www.gofundme.com/vp9h9h5g
Green Living SIG's Tips for Helping The Homeless Community In Your Area:
There are homeless individuals in Malaysia as well. Many people become homeless due to illness, family problems, abandonment by family members, lack of education, or problems with employers or business partners, among others. Many of them work at low-paying jobs in order to send money home to their families in their villages. They cannot afford rent in cities and towns. Here are ways you can help the homeless and poor, even if you do not have Hailey Fort's carpentry and farming skills!
1. Collect, wash and sort used but wearable clothes, bags, blankets, towels and shoes. Donating and reusing clothes and similar items is good for the environment as it keeps usable items out of landfills and reduces the need for the homeless and poor to buy themselves cheap clothing of poor quality.
2. Collect unopened bottles of shampoo, soap and toiletries from family and friends, especially those you get as samples or from hotels. Collecting and donating toiletries is also good for the environment because it helps you declutter and find a use for assorted toiletries.
Donate the abovementioned items to organisations that assist the homeless in Malaysia, such as:
(i) Kedai Jalanan, managed by the Gender Studies Faculty of University Malaya (https://www.facebook.com/Gender-Studies-University-of-Malaya-233365060180586/?fref=nf)
(ii) Reach Out Malaysia
(iii) Kechara Soup Kitchen
(iv) Dapur Jalanan Pulau Pinang (https://www.facebook.com/dapurjalananpp/?fref=ts)
(v) Dapur Jalanan Kuala Lumpur (https://www.facebook.com/dapurjalanankl/?fref=ts)
(vi) Dapur Jalanan Ipoh (https://www.facebook.com/dapurjalananipoh/?fref=ts)
(vi) Dapur Jalanan Muar (https://www.facebook.com/dapurjalananmuar/?fref=ts)
(vii) Need To Feed The Need (https://www.facebook.com/needtofeedtheneed/?fref=ts)
(viii) Pertubuhan Amal Seri Sinar
(ix) Yellow House KL (https://www.facebook.com/YellowHouseKl/?fref=ts)
3. Contact the organisations listed above to inquire what food is suitable for donation. Cooked food has to be very fresh, hot and wholesome to be suitable for donation. Please do not donate any expired or stale food, or anything that you would not yourself eat. If someone you know works for a food manufacturer, a bakery, a fruit/vegetable store or a grocery/convenience store, ask if they are able to donate any items (e.g. buns, biscuits, drinks) that are close to their expiry date but have not expired yet. Many such items are delivered back to the manufacturers for destruction. Redirecting them to the homeless feeds the hungry and prevents waste.
4. Grow fruits and vegetables for the homeless. Even small amounts of sweet potato leaves, Brazilian spinach, long beans, winged beans, cucumbers, kangkung, bayam and spinach can be donated to organisations that cook for the homeless to be added to noodles, fried rice or soup.
5. Ask for donations of dry food items (e.g. rice, canned food, biscuits, beans, buns, beverages, dried fruit) instead of presents for your next birthday party. If you plan to go out the same day/night to distribute food with any of the organisations that help the homeless, you can ask for donations of fruits and baked goods from your guests as well. 
6. Volunteer your skills. Perhaps you or someone in your family are able to give hairwashes or haircuts to the homeless (Contact Yellow House KL about their Street Salon programme). Perhaps you or someone you know happens to be an animal rescuer, and can help the homeless get their pets neutered and vaccinated. If you are an amateur musician, magician or performer, you can volunteer to perform at the parties held by charitable organisations for street folks during the festive season. You can volunteer with these organisations as street store helpers, food distributors, cooks, kitchen helpers and cleanup crew.

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