Bernie Sanders Raised $1.8 Million for Charity Off His Viral Meme

The Senator created a merch line of his now-viral meme to raise money for Vermont charities

Last week's Presidential Inauguration blessed us with so many things: a new administration, "Let's Get Loud," Amanda Gorman, and of course, the viral Bernie Sanders mittens photograph that sparked a thousand memes.

Sanders bundled up in his infamous coat and some new crotched mittens (made by a teacher in Vermont) just trying to stay warm during the Presidential Inauguration. Instead, a meme was born.

So Sanders decided to take this viral fame and run with it. He created a line of merchandise — which includes sweatshirts, T-shirts, stickers, and more — of his now-famous pose on the folding chair to donate to charities in Vermont. And he's already raised $1.8 million, according to Today.

According to Sanders's office, the proceeds will benefit Vermont organizations, including Meals on Wheels Vermont locations, Vermont community action agencies, the Chill Foundation, the Vermont Parent Child Network, Feeding Chittenden, some Vermont senior centers, and Bistate Primary Care for dental care improvements.

And it's not just Sanders who is using the viral moment for good. Getty Images will also donate the money it has made off the merchandise to Meals on Wheels of America and Burton Snowboards (the brand responsible for his famous brown parka) donated 50 jackets in Sanders's name Burlington Department for Children and Families, according to Today.

And that's not even all. Jen Ellis, the teacher who made the iconic (and sustainable) mittens, made three more pairs of mittens to be donated to fundraise for Passion 4 Paws Vermont, Outright Vermont, and will auction off a pair on eBay for her daughter's college fund. A crocheted doll of Sanders in his parka and mittens was auctioned off online. She took to Twitter to tease the amount raised.

"Bernie Sanders called me earlier today to tell me that the mitten frenzy has already raised an enormous amount of money for Vermont charities," she wrote. "I am not authorized to disclose the amount yet- but it's BIG and it's amazing! Thank you!! Generosity brings joy"

And get this, someone even made a crotched doll of Sanders in his famous brown parka and mittens to be auctioned off online.

"Jane [Sanders's wife] 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 wrote in a statement. "But 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."

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