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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was photographed sitting alone at the Biden|Harris inauguration; he was bundled up against the bitter wind chill factor of 34 degrees. The internet went wild creating memes. Not a man to be bullied, a sweatshirt was created, sold online in his campaign store, and donated 100 percent of the profits to Meals on Wheels in Sanders’ home state, reports Rolling Stone on Jan. 22, 2021.
Jane Catton of Age Well, the largest provider of Meals on Wheels in Vermont, expressed the agency’s gratitude for Sanders’ generosity during an interview with a local news station:
On behalf of all of the area agencies on aging and our partners in the community who help us provide meal services, this is a tremendous gift and we couldn’t be more grateful.
Age Well’s website reports Vermont’s senior population is the 3rd largest in the country — 168,999 in 2020. A little over a quarter of those 60 years and older live alone. Isolated seniors are at a greater risk of missing meals, falls resulting in injury and depression.
Not only does the Older Americans Act (OAA) nutrition programs deliver nutritious meals, staff members complete friendly visits and safety checks to those at risk. Meals on Wheels volunteers not only drop off meals but oftentimes are the only person they might see for days or weeks. Seniors receiving services in Vermont report:
- 83 percent say the program has improved their overall health.
- 86 percent indicate they feel safer as a result of the program.
- 9 of 10 recipients feel more safe and secure in their own homes.
This program is fantastic. It saved my life.
WCAX announced the sale of the sweatshirt on the Sanders Campaign store. At the time of the broadcast, there was a disclaimer posted alongside the “Chairman Sanders Crewneck” “Due to overwhelming demand for this item, it will be 4-8 weeks until you receive your sweatshirt.” The shirt sold out quickly, and the website is not offering backorders as yet.
The mittens Sanders was wearing when the photo was snapped were made by a woman who sent them to him as a consolation gift after his loss to Hillary Clinton. Jen Ellis was overwhelmed with purchase requests that she cannot possibly fill. Instead, she offered to auction off the three pairs she had left.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Rolling Stone: Bernie Sanders Turned His Inauguration Meme Into a Sweatshirt for Charity; Jon Blistein
WCAX: Bernie-meme sweatshirts benefitting local meals on wheels
AGE-WELL: Meals on Wheels
PinkNews: Bernie Sanders’ iconic inauguration mittens, immortalised in memes, were handmade by a lesbian teacher; by Patrick Kelleher
Featured and Top Image by Troy Page Courtesy of Thruthout.org’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License