Bernie Sanders' mitten merch raised $1.8 million for Vermont ​charities in less than a week

Bernie Sanders' mitten merch raised $1.8 million for Vermont ​charities in less than a week
Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

What's in a pair of mittens?

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Wednesday that sales of merchandise based on the viral photo of the former 2020 presidential candidate wearing wool mittens during President Joe Biden's inauguration have raised over $1.8 million for charities in less than week.

All the money raised from the sales of both t-shirts and sweatshirts at the store is going to Vermont charities focused on ending hunger and providing health and dental care to the state's most vulnerable. According to a statement from Friends of Bernie Sanders, the PAC which maintains the senator's campaign organization, those receiving the funds are: Area Agencies on Aging to fund Meals on Wheels in the state, Vermont Community Action Agencies, Feeding Chittenden, Vermont Parent Child Network, The Chill Foundation, Senior Centers in Vermont through the Area Agencies, and Bistate Primary Care for dental care improvements in the state.

The first "Chairman Sanders" item was put on the website Thursday night, the statement explained, but the first run sold out in less than half an hour. Additional items were added over the weekend, and sold out by Monday morning.

Sanders said that both he and his wife, Dr. Jane O'Meara Sanders, 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."

While the meme of Sanders in his mittens exploded online and money raised will go towards a good cause, the senator said "even this amount of money is no substitute for action by Congress, and I will be doing everything I can in Washington to make sure working people in Vermont and across the country get the relief they need in the middle of the worst crisis we've faced since the Great Depression."

The original photograph was taken by Getty Images photographer Brendan Smialowski, but the PAC said that as part of the licensing agreement with Getty that a portion of the funds generated by the photograph will also be donated to help support Meals on Wheels nationally.

In addition to the merchandise, the maker of the original mittens—Vermont knitter Jen Ellis—has been pressed for orders from around the world, but announced last week that she was sold out.

"I hate to disappoint people, but the mittens," she toldJewish Insider last week, "they're one of a kind and they're unique and, sometimes in this world, you just can't get everything you want."

This article first appeared on Common Dreams. You can read it here.