Mitten Merch Brings in Big Bucks for Charity

Bernie Sanders capitalizes on quirky memes
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2021 4:46 PM CST
Bernie's Mittens Help Raise $1.8M for Charity
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wears mittens as he attends President Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.   (Jonathan Ernst/Pool Photo via AP)

About those wooly mittens that Sen. Bernie Sanders wore to the presidential inauguration, sparking endless quirky memes across social media? They've helped to raise $1.8 million in the last five days for charitable organizations in Sanders' home state of Vermont, the independent senator announced Wednesday. The sum comes from the sale of merchandise with the Jan. 20 image of him sitting with his arms and legs crossed, clad in his brown parka and recycled wool mittens, the AP reports. Sanders put the first of the so-called "Chairman Sanders" merchandise, including T-shirts, sweatshirts, and stickers, on his website Thursday night and the first run sold out in less than 30 minutes, he said. More merchandise was added over the weekend and sold out by Monday morning, he said.

"Jane and I were amazed by all the creativity shown by so many people over the last week, and we're glad we can use my Internet fame to help Vermonters in need," Sanders said in a statement. Sanders’ mittens were made by a Vermont elementary school teacher who has a side business making mittens out of recycled wool. Groups that will benefit from the proceeds include agencies on aging, community action agencies, Feeding Chittenden, Vermont Parent Child Network, The Chill Foundation, senior centers in Vermont, and Bistate Primary Care for dental care improvements in the state, Sanders' office said. Getty Images will donate its proceeds as part of the licensing agreement to put the photo on T-shirts, sweatshirts, and stickers to Meals on Wheels of America, Sanders' office said.

(More Bernie Sanders stories.)

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