As the executive director of a non-profit, Cindy Miller is always brainstorming ideas on how to raise money. So it should come as no surprise when inspiration for the Eaton Area Senior Center most recent fundraiser struck in the middle of the night.

Presented with the challenge of raising nearly $16,000 to replace the carpet at the Eaton Area Senior Center, it dawned on her that she knew exactly how to raise the money. She harkened back to her time working for a non-profit in Lansing when she took part in a quarter drive. She had done the math before — a quarter is almost exactly an inch in diameter and there are 63,360 inches in a mile. By collecting a mile of quarters, she could raise $15,830 — almost exactly what is needed to replace the carpet.

For the past year, Eaton Area Senior Center has been on a mission to reach that mile, one quarter at a time.

“It’s been a lot fun,” Miller said. “It’s been done mostly through people donating their change.”

The fundraiser was given a big boost early on through a donation from Eaton Federal Savings Bank, which pledged to match the first $1,000 in quarters donated. Currently, the fundraiser has raised more than $10,000. Donations can be made at the Eaton Area Senior Center, Eaton Federal Savings Bank and Custom Home Interiors.

Those donating at least $3 can place their name on a strip of paper (representing $3 in quarters per strip) to be placed end-to-end at the Lansing Mall. Miller said the strips will be unveiled during an event at the Lansing Mall on Monday, Jan. 27.

“I’m so excited to show what the seniors of Eaton County can do,” Miller said.

The Lansing Mall will donate all of the change tossed in its fountain during the week leading up to the Jan. 27 event.

“We may make this an annual event,” Miller said. “It’s non-intrusive and could really help us establish a restoration fund.”