One of the best things to come out of the Jan. 20 inauguration was the Bernie Sanders meme, which had a lot to do with the mittens Sanders was wearing.
Sanders revealed at the time they were gifted to him by Jen Ellis, a Vermont teacher who only made a precious few of the suddenly in-demand mittens.
While Ellis has her hands full with teaching and can’t resume making mittens, she’s done the next best thing: Given the specs to a Vermont teddy bear company, who will make “Bernie mittens.”
Even better? The sales of the mittens will go to a good cause.
The everyone-wins arrangement involves Vermont Teddy Bear, a company based in Shelburne, Vermont, making mittens that follow Ellis’s designs. CNN noted that “an undisclosed portion of the proceeds will benefit Make-A-Wish Vermont, which shares an office space with the Shelburne teddy bear business.”
“I did one thing years ago and forgot about it, and it has come back around in the most joyful way,” Ellis told CNN for its story — while on what the reporter noted was her “brief lunch break” during her teaching day.
The story noted that people finding out she made the mittens that captured America’s attention was life-changing, noting, “If I’m going to be instantly famous in a second for something, thank God it’s this.”
While she wanted to meet the requests of people clamoring for Bernie mittens of their own, she knew she didn’t have the time or wherewithal to make it happen on her own.
Vermont Teddy Bear reached out to Ellis, and the partnership was a snug fit, in part because she wanted to work a company that would donate some of the mitten proceeds to a worthy cause.
“I just think it’s important to share the wealth,” she observed.
Make-A-Wish Vermont President Jamie Hathaway felt similarly about working with Ellis and Vermont Teddy Bear, pointing out that Ellis helped launch a meme that made people of all political persuasions feel good.
“It’s a phenomenal gift to us,” Hathaway said, adding “not just in the financial contribution, but to be a part of this really fun thing.”