Over $8K pulled down from ceiling at Kells

Over $8K pulled down from ceiling at Kells
Money is scraped from the ceiling at Kells Irish Pub & Restaurant on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 (photo by Shannon L. Cheesman, KATU.com Producer/Reporter).

PORTLAND, Ore. - It was raining green at Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub in downtown Portland on Tuesday - part of the pub's annual tradition to raise money for medically fragile children.

Throughout the year, customers who want to make a donation simply give a little extra dough to the pub's staff, who then stick the cash onto the ceiling. The money stays up there until it's time to scrape it off and tally it up.

"Our generous customers donate $1.50, our staff throws it up there and we take it down once a year," explained Lucille McAleese, who owns the pub with her husband.

Kells matches whatever they collect from the ceiling and then donates the money to Providence Child Center. Last year, they brought down $9,000 from their ceiling and with their match they were able to donate $18,000.

This year, Kells raked in $8,712.12 and with their matching funds they will reach a milestone - over $200,000 they've donated since 1995 when they started doing this.

"It shows you how a buck fifty can go a long, long way," said McAleese.

When asked why they do it, McAleese said it's simple - when you meet the kids at Providence Child Center you can't help but want to get involved.

"My children and I have been volunteering for years and we've just fallen in love with them (the kids)," she said. "It's an easy thing to do."

And the money that Kells raises is definitely needed and appreciated.

"It costs about $185,000 a year for each child to be at Providence Child Center and 85 percent of that is covered by insurance, so that leaves a gap," said Joanne Vance, Nursing Administrator for Providence. "It's through philanthropy and generosity that the gap is made up."

The ceiling sweep is also the official kickoff for the pub's annual St. Patrick's Irish Festival, which this year will be held March 15 through March 18.