GREENDALE – Cousins Subs awarded St. Alphonsus Catholic Church with a $1,000 check Wednesday. The church suffered extensive smoke damage from a fire on Christmas Eve.
As repairs are being made to the sacristy area, students and parishioners are using a community room for mass. 17 classrooms to the adjoining school were also damaged by the fire.
The areas were supposed to reopen by April, but now, it's looking like mid-June.
“The repairs are taking longer than anticipated. As we go through step by step with lighting, heating, we are trying to make the best decisions and it’s taking a little longer,” St. Alphonsus School Principal Pat Wadzinski said.
The cost of the repairs is also far more than the $300,000 dollars initially estimated. Now, it could be above $1 million.
“To find out there was a fire here, it's a tragic thing and we wanted to help,” Paul Shoman, owner of the Greendale Cousins Subs store, who delivered the $1,000 check to the parish for repairs said. “Seeing those kids jumping up and clapping, it was a very heartwarming thing and made it all worth it."
“Amazing, amazing. Made it all worth it,” Thomas Jones, the owner of four other Cousins Subs stores said.
The owners of seven franchises teamed up one day in February to raise the money. 10 percent of the sales that day went directly to the parish.
“We see their faces in our stores every day, so what a nice way to give back to St. Alphonsus,” Shoman said.
So far, the church has raised more than $100,000 for the repairs.
As for the cause of the fire, the state Fire Marshal's office has listed it as undetermined, but says it was not intentionally set.