Like many people, Laurie Bayly was charmed by the image of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders sitting in a folding chair at President Joe Biden's inauguration with his arms crossed and his hands stuffed into cozy-looking mittens.
Inspired, Bayly put her own twist on the Bernie meme.
"In the spirit of soaking in this sweet pause while we all focus on Bernie's mittens, I felted him," begins her Facebook post about her 15-centimetre felt recreation of the Senator from Vermont.
The Victoria teacher offered to hold a drawing for anyone who wanted to win her felt creation. Her only stipulation was that they make a donation to charity to be included in the draw.
"I asked people just to donate, just thinking, you know, we're in a really hard time in this pandemic, and I suggested the Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness," Bayly said.
To her surprise, the post took off. Hundreds of people made donations and left comments on the post asking to be entered into the draw.
"It's very, very unexpected," Bayly said. "I don't know if people are giving $5 or $500, but they're giving."
The overwhelming response inspired Bayly to start working on a second felt Bernie.
On Sunday, she drew the names of two winners, who will each receive a Bernie as soon as she's able to finish the second one.
The experience has been reassuring, Bayly said.
“There is a lot of suffering in our world and our community but I am reminded there is so much kindness and goodness."