“Well,” Kiwanian Ray Sopfe said with a sigh, “our Miracle Mile of Quarters fundraiser usually happens in May but we just couldn’t do it this year.”
The annual event, organized by Alpine Kiwanis, usually nets thousands of dollars that are then donated to Rady Children’s Hospital.
Sopfe said club officers held out hope the event would simply be held later in the year after all public events were canceled or postponed back in March due to the physical distancing efforts employed to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At this point in the year, it has become apparent the event will not happen in person for 2020, Sopfe said, and the club has decided to simply donate $3,000 leftover from last year that would have served as a starting point for this year’s event.
Originally conceived as a golf tournament fundraiser, the event has gone through a couple of iterations but generally involves an in-person event where most of the funds are raised.
“When it first took place the ceremony was at Grossmont Shopping Center, then it moved to being held in front of the hospital. The last couple of years, they moved it back to Grossmont but of course with the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to do it virtually,” Sopfe said.
Sopfe said the fundraiser usually involves not just Kiwanis proper but all of its affiliated service clubs such as Granite Hills High School’s Key Club and Joan MacQueen Middle School’s Builders club.
The original reason it was called Miracle Mile of Quarters, Sopfe explained, began with “one of those fun ideas with someone asking how many quarters it would take to make one mile of quarters” and another person running with the question as a way to engage the public and collect donations.
“All the clubs would come down to Grossmont centerand we’d lay out yards of quarters; the youth clubs would make heart designs out of the quarters,” Sopfe said.
Over the past 25 years, he said, Kiwanis has donated about $850,000 through the program — “a phenomenal amount of money when you really think about it,” Sopfe said.
This week, he said, Alpine Kiwanis president Don Lumb will be dropping off a check at the hospital for “Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation, which is where we funnel those funds” rather than holding any ceremonial event.
Sopfe said club members are still happy to know the money is going to a good cause.