Sometimes seeing life through the eyes of a child can broaden our hearts and minds and provide the simplest of solutions to what we didn’t think was possible.
One such kindergartner from Ishpeming, Michigan did exactly that, when her pure heart of gold brought her grandmother to tears, as well as much more to her classmates.
When 5-year-old Sunshine Oelfke found out why her friend Layla didn’t drink milk during lunchtime, she went home and immediately emptied her arctic cat piggybank.
Her actions baffled her grandmother.
Her grandmother, Jackie Oelfke, was a bit confused by the behavior. “Nobody messes with the piggybank,” she told CBS.
At first she thought her granddaughter was playing, as she dumped out her savings and stacked up pennies, nickels, dimes, crinkled up bills, and started “counting” on the living room floor.
“That piqued my curiosity,” Oelfke told CBS News. But when she saw her put the $30 she had gathered in a plastic bag and inside her backpack, the grandmother knew Sunshine was serious.
“What are you doing with that money?” she asked her granddaughter.
Sunshine simply said she was taking it to school, but after further prodding the bighearted kindergartner admitted, “I’m going to take it for milk money. I’m taking it for my friend Layla,” she explained. “She doesn’t get milk — her mom doesn’t have milk money and I do.”
The little girl didn’t think twice about spending her savings on her friend.
Her grandmother was touched to tears.
Together, she and Sunshine went to Birchview Elementary School in Ishpeming, Michigan to deliver the “milk money” to her teacher Rita Hausher, who was entrusted to make sure the students in Sunshine’s classroom all get milk during snack time if they want to.
“I knew she has a lot of love in her,” Oelfke tearfully said in a video she shared on Facebook that has been watched over 7,000 times.
According to Oelfke, Sunshine comes from a broken home—her mother is a drug addict and has been in and out of prison. So she was particularly moved when her granddaughter displayed such heartfelt kindness towards her friend and classmates through the simplest way she knows how: with milk.
“Milk is important in our family, so it’s very important for Sunshine’s friends to have milk with her,” Oelfke explained.
About half of the students in Sunshine’s class of 20 can’t afford milk at $0.45 a carton. It’s a $180 combined cost for every child in the class to have milk every day during snack time.
It’s an amount that Oelfke says they couldn’t pay all themselves.
Touched by her granddaughter’s heart of gold, Oelfke decided to start a GoFundMe Campaign to provide milk for every student in Sunshine’s class for an entire semester, a goal of $700.
To her surprise though, the campaign, titled Sunshine’s Class Milk Money Mission, far surpassed that amount and raised $1,000 dollars in just a week—allowing the students in Sunshine’s class the option to have milk during snack time for the rest of the year, according to CBS.
“Guess what! My whole class got milk today,” Sunshine proudly told her grandma on Thursday. “Layla now has milk money.”
“She doesn’t understand the impact she’s made,” the Michigan grandmother said. “But now she knows she can do whatever she puts her mind to.”
But perhaps the biggest impact she left was on her grandmother, who now knows that you really can achieve incredible things that were previously thought to be impossible—if you just broaden your heart a little.