TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Termites have caused thousands of dollars of damage to a local church and the bugs continue to be an issue.
WTOL first told viewers about the termites at St.Matthews Episcopal Church in West Toledo back in May. Several months later, the congregation still needs the community's help to repair what the bugs have destroyed.
From the outside, the church looks like a normal place of worship, but on the inside, the scene is much different. Destroyed wood, gutted sacristy, repaired support beams, the entire sanctuary unusable, and all of the damage is from termites.
"We've not been allowed to be in here. Just in the last two weeks, we've been able to be in here even, in over a year," said Reverend Joseph Keblesh Jr., the director of the church.
He says this all started two years ago when the front doors were replaced and they noticed the termites. Since then the church has continued to battle the bugs.
"If we would see something that looked like termites they would come in and spray, but they never did any further investigations to our knowledge. And so we were really quite surprised when we found out the extent of the damage that went all the way through this building," said Rev. Keblesh.
The damage has changed everything the church does; They now hold services in what used to be the parish hall, causing community events to be pushed elsewhere.
But now that the church knows they have a bigger problem than they thought, they need more community support to get rid of the wood-eating bugs for good and finish repairing the building.
"Someone's offered $75,000 of matching funds. If we can raise $75,000 in September that will make $150,000 for us and we're really praying that this happens," said Rev. Keblesh.
The $150,000 will cover the rest of the work and leave the church debt free. So far they have raised $30,000 of that amount.
"This is our home, this is not just a building. This is our parish family home," said Rev. Keblesh.
The goal is to reopen the church in November.