One little girl’s compassion kickstarted a movement to help all of the underprivileged students in her kindergarten class.

Jackie Oelfke already paid for her granddaughter to get milk at school, so when 5-year-old Sunshine Oelfke told her grandmother that she was counting out coins for milk, her grandmother was understandably confused. When Sunshine explained, Jackie was filled with love and pride for her granddaughter.

No use crying over spilled milk

Sunshine had decided to use the coins and dollar bills she had originally saved for a snowmobile to pay for her friend’s milk. For Sunshine, drinking milk is a step toward her dream: To get strong for snowmobiling.

My friend’s mom doesn’t have milk money, and I do. I am taking milk money to school for my friend, because my friend wants milk, and I want my friend to get milk, too. We like chocolate milk, together.

Sunshine Oelfke

A legendary classmate

Jackie accompanied Sunshine to school the next day, plastic bags filled with milk money in Sunshines’ hands. Jackie told Sunshine’s kindergarten teacher what the bags were for.

“I have always felt sad when I have had to tell a student ‘no’ when they ask if they can have milk,” Sunshine’s teacher, Rita Hausher, said.

Like Sunshine, Rita has also paid for other students to get milk when their families couldn’t afford it.

Milk it for all its worth

Inspired by Sunshine’s compassion, Jackie set up a GoFundMe to raise money for all of Sunshine’s classmates to get milk for the rest of the semester- regardless of whether their families can afford it or not. The goal was $800, but after strangers around the world heard about Sunshine’s kindness, the GoFundMe raised $19,730.

Thanks to Sunshine’s act of kindness for one student, it has grown so much that it now includes everyone, which makes my heart happy.

Rita Hausher

With the donations, they were not only able to supply milk for every student in Sunshine’s class, but also to continue buying milk for Sunshine’s classmates who will need help in future grades.

“The money will stay with Sunshine as she progresses grades to make sure her friends get milk, no matter where she is,” Jackie said.

The land of milk and honey

After the donations were sent to the school, Sunshine noticed a difference at snack time.

“Guess what! My whole class got milk today,” Sunshine told her grandma.

Sunshine doesn’t take the credit for what she inspired. Instead, she is just happy to see all of her friends get milk.

She doesn’t understand the impact she’s made, but now she knows she can do whatever she puts her mind to.

Jackie Oelfke

The milk of human kindness

Sunshine’s compassion brought her an unexpected gift. One morning, Sunshine saw a trailer from the snowmobile company Arctic Cat parked outside her house. The company had heard about Sunshine and her selflessness and were actually at her house to gift her her own snowmobile!

Sunshine’s altruism is a reminder to us all of what we can do. It is not necessary to have loads of expendable money in order to help others. Donating what you can- whether that’s money or time or, in Sunshine’s case, a Ziplock bag of coins- is a great way to practice kindness and help those around you.

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“Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.” – Dalai Lama