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a good cause

Bernie Sanders used viral inauguration photo to raise $1.8 million for Vermont charitable organizations

Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) sensible fashion non-statement raised $1.8 million for charitable organizations in Vermont.

For President Biden's inauguration last Wednesday, Sanders wore a simple Burton Snowboards jacket and mittens made from recycled wool. Agence France-Presse photographer Brendan Smialowski snapped a photo of a cozy Sanders sitting in a folding chair, legs and arms crossed, that resonated with the internet — soon, images began appearing showing Sanders sitting on the moon, riding the New York subway, and hanging out with the Golden Girls.

His campaign put the image on sweatshirts, T-shirts, and stickers last Thursday, and the items immediately sold out; more products were released over the weekend, and those were snapped up by Monday morning. Sanders announced on Wednesday that in just five days, $1.8 million was raised for a variety of charitable organizations in Vermont, including Meals on Wheels and senior centers. He said he was "amazed by all the creativity shown by so many people over the last week," and happy to use his "internet fame to help Vermonters in need."

Fundraising is not enough, Sanders added, as "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 mittens Sanders wore were crafted by Vermont elementary school teacher Jen Ellis, who has made additional pairs for Passion 4 Paws Vermont and Outright Vermont to auction off. Burton Snowboards also donated 50 jackets to the Burlington Department for Children and Families in Sanders' name.