If you’re feeling frustrated with the negativity in your news feed, or sad about the hatred you see in the world, you often can look to children. Children will usually remind us of what love, compassion, and joy look like. Hearing our kids say “I love you” or watching them be kind fills up the cracks in our hearts and makes us remember that people are good. And a 5-year-old girl, aptly named Sunshine, is one such child who recently made the world a whole lot better and a whole lot more beautiful—with her pure and generous heart.
At five years old, Sunshine has not walked through life without challenges. Her primary caregiver and grandmother Jackie Oelfke shares with CBS News that Sunshine’s mother is a drug addict and has been in and out of prison. And she also says in a now-viral Facebook post that she tries everything she can to protect Sunshine from hurt and pain. But a couple of weeks ago, when her little granddaughter emptied out her piggybank and took all of her money to school, Jackie knew that despite life’s challenges, Sunshine was doing okay. More than okay, in fact.
The kindergartener, who lives with her grandmother in Ishpeming, Michigan, sat down on the floor that morning and began counting her money. Jackie says she initially thought she was just playing, but when Sunshine put all of the money in a bag and stuffed it into her backpack, she realized there was more than that going on.
Sunshine then explained, “I’m going to take it for milk money. I’m taking it for my friend. She doesn’t get milk — her mom doesn’t have milk money and I do.”
And Grandma’s heart burst. As did mine just now.
So that day, as shared in a CBS news article, “Oelfke and Sunshine met with her teacher, Rita Hausher, at Birchview Elementary School and handed her the $30 the kindergartner had saved.”
But the story doesn’t end there.
Children have quite an effect on us adults, don’t they? They have the power to soften our hardened hearts and make us want to do good. And that’s exactly what happened to Sunshine’s grandma after she dropped her off at school. A Younique salesperson, Jackie shares in her viral FB video that she’s been inspired to donate all of her commissions this month to Sunshine’s class so that every student can purchase milk for snack.
Wiping away her tears, Jackie also confesses that she “was so naive. I didn’t realize this was an issue, a problem for families. We’re doing okay. Sunshine always has milk money.” But Jackie now realizes that so many do not. So she and her incredible granddaughter want to help.
Since this story broke, Jackie and Sunshine have set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations so that all of Sunshine’s classmates can purchase milk for the rest of the school year. With an initial goal of $700, the page raised $1,000 with a week and is now up to a whopping $8,000. And that’s the power of kindness right there.
Jackie says in her Facebook video that she’s so proud of Sunshine. “With all the hatred in the world, this little 5-year-old has so much love and compassion for her friends. I will tell her that she’s made a difference.” She sure has.
Thank you to Sunshine and Jackie Oelfke for reminding us to open our hearts and remember that every family’s circumstances are different. The world is a kinder and more beautiful today because of you.