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NEW MILFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey woman is helping workers keep cool on these hot summer days.
It’s a mission Velvet Poveromo’s late husband started nearly a decade ago, and now the generosity is spreading across the country.
Poveromo grabs bottles of water and carries them outside her New Milford home, where she dumps them into a cooler just like her beloved Charlie did every summer for the last eight years.
Charlie wanted to make sure people who work outside, like mail carriers and sanitation workers, were hydrated during hot days. Velvet says she doesn’t want the giving to stop.
“I wanted to pay tribute to him and honor him because he gave back so much to this community and I want to give back to him,’ she said. “He is my heart.”
Velvet and Charlie met when she was 18, over 40 years ago. They got engaged six months later and they never left each other’s side until he died in March from a heart attack.
He would have turned 58-years-old next week.
When the hot days came, Velvet knew she had to continue his legacy. She made a stand called “Charlie’s Cooler,” but didn’t realize she was also starting a movement.
“It was cathartic for me, and it just picked up steam,” she said.
Her sister-in-law did the same thing outside her home a few miles away.
“It’s been tough since we lost him and this gives me a reason to smile because he was a great guy,” Charlie’s sister, Monica Pidhorecki, said.
So did friends in nearby Paramus. Strangers eventually read about it on social media, and pictures of “Charlie Coolers” began to surface all over the internet.
“We have people in 13 states,” Velvet said. “We are trying to get all of them but it is moving across the country.”
Donations have also been coming her way. Her efforts can get expensive, but she says it’s worth it since it helps her husband’s legacy live on one bottle of water at a time.