Wife keeps husband’s ‘act of kindness’ tradition alive after his death

Posted: Updated:
NEW MILFORD -

A Bergen County man started a tradition of helping to keep sanitation workers cool during the hot summer months — a tradition his wife is keeping alive after his death.

Charlie Poveramo kept a cooler filled with cold drinks and snacks outside his home on garbage day so that the sanitation workers who came by to collect the trash were able to take a quick break to continue their day.

“It’s like a checkpoint,” says sanitation worker Antoine Zimmerman.  “It’s like a second breath of fresh air. The Gatorade, the cakes, it gets us through the rest of the route. So we appreciate it.”

But then Poveramo, a father of two and beloved grandfather, died in March from a heart attack. As the summer approached, his wife Velvet Poveramo said that she needed to keep the tradition alive.

“I couldn’t let it go,” she says. “It was part of who he was. It brought me a lot of joy. It actually helped heal me.”

Velvet Poveramo posted her story to Facebook. And soon her inbox was lighting up with photos of other people putting out “Charlie's Coolers.” She says that people were putting out coolers on the Virgin Islands, in Florida, California, Japan and Italy.

“So it just keeps growing, and it started out with this — a cooler on a lawn,” she says.

“Charlie’s Coolers” have spread to 10 countries and 23 states.

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