Is there anything more bittersweet than the United States’ penchant for crowdfunding? Crowdfunding pages like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Patreon have paid for organ transplants, gender reassignment surgeries, cancer treatments, and more. While these efforts arguably underscore systemic economic issues in our society, the good of the Internet is one little beacon that cuts through the darkness. Take, for example, a five-year-old girl who recently raised $5,000 to pay for her classmates' milk after discovering that her family didn't have money to give her.
CBS News reports that it all started two years ago, when 5-year-old Sunshine Oelfke—truly a personification of her name—emptied out her piggy bank on the living room floor of her home in Ishpeming, Michigan, and started counting. At first, Jackie Oelfke thought her granddaughter was just playing bank, but then she saw her stuff the money into her backpack. "That piqued my curiosity," Jackie told CBS News. "Nobody messes with the piggy bank."
When Jackie asked Sunshine what she's doing with the money, she responded, "I'm going to take it for milk money. I'm taking it for my friend Layla. She doesn't get milk—her mom doesn't have milk money and I do."
Jackie told CBS News that Sunshine was raised in a non-traditional household, and her mother has been in and out of prison. "[Sunshine is] going to have enough issues growing up with this," Jackie, who posted a moving video on Facebook explaining her granddaughter’s mission, told CBS. "I've never told her she can't do something, and I didn't want to start now."
That's why the pair met with Birchview Elementary School teacher Rita Hausher to hand her the $30 Sunshine had saved up for her friend Layla. "Milk is important in our family, so it's very important for Sunshine's friends to have milk with her," Jackie said.
After dozens commented on Jackie’s video offering their own donations, she decided to start a GoFundMe entitled "Sunshine's Class Milk Money Mission," which has raised $5,845 in just 11 days.
Sunshine's class has 20 kids, and half don't get milk, though it costs only $0.45 a carton, or $180 a month for every child in the class to have milk. Every student in the class will now be able to get free milk with thousands to spare. "She doesn't understand the impact she's made," Jackie said about her granddaughter. "But now she knows she can do whatever she puts her mind to."