Sunshine Oelfke, the 5-year-old who emptied her piggy bank to buy milk for her classmates who couldn’t afford it, received a big surprise in celebration of her selfless act. During a schoolwide gathering at Birchview Elementary, Textron Specialized Vehicles presented Sunshine with her own Arctic Cat ZR 120 model snowmobile, the very same dream sled Sunshine had been diligently saving for prior to realizing she had friends in need.
Sunshine’s’ Milk Mission, which began when Sunshine donated all of her own savings, has tugged at heartstrings across the nation, with donations to her Go Fund Me page now exceeding $13,000. That’s 16 times the amount it would take to buy her entire classroom milk for one whole year.
“We are all so thrilled for the positivity Sunshine has helped bring to our school,” said Birchview Elementary Principal Bernie Anderson. “We encourage our students to treat others the way you want to be treated. For Sunshine to see the needs at our school and do something about it, makes us very proud.”
During the schoolwide celebration, Sunshine and her grandmother, Jackie Oelfke, presented the first check to the school of $5,000, which will cover the cost of milk for the 74 pre-Kindergarten and Kindergartners for the rest of the year. The check presentation was followed by the surprise reveal of the youth Arctic Cat snowmobile.
“We were so touched by Sunshine’s generosity that we were eager to do something special for her and show our support for the Ishpeming community,” said Kale Wainer, Snow channel marketing manager at Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc., which designs and manufactures Arctic Cat snowmobiles. “I think we can all afford to be more compassionate and fearless, and Sunshine sets a great example for us.”
“Sunshine is a snowmobile fanatic. We rode over 800 miles together just last year, and she never touched her Arctic Cat piggy bank prior to this mission because she had her heart set on that snowmobile,” said Jackie Oelfke. “That’s why I was so taken aback when I saw her emptying her coins into baggies and taking them to school. To see this little girl, have such a big heart at her age is amazingly heartwarming, and I am just so glad that people want to spread her message of kindness.”
Arctic Cat is also donating snow gear to the school for those who may not have access to adequate winter gear.