Update, October 24, 2018: After FOX40 aired this story Monday night, Fig’s Plumbing contacted the church and volunteered to donate the work. Their technicians came out to the church Tuesday morning and fixed the leak for free.
SOUTH SACRAMENTO -- In a parking lot off Fruitridge Road, 72-year-old Meribeth Bean spent her Monday with a shovel and pick-ax.
She was digging through the pavement into the ground beneath the parking lot of Fruitridge Christian Church, trying to find the source of a water leak.
"Haven't gotten far," Bean conceded. "But I've been further than I would've been if I didn't do anything."
She said water has been coming up through cracks in the pavement for two weeks and the church contacted the local water district.
"And all they'll tell us is, 'Well if the meter goes around when the water's on, that's your problem,'" Bean recalled.
Bean also said plumbers have quoted between $9,000 and $10,000 to find the leak and fix it -- an amount the church cannot afford. The only solution so far has been to shut off the water supply from the street.
"We turn it on while somebody's using the church and then shut it off right after," Bean explained. "But there's an enormous amount of water waste."
So Bean, a retired utility worker with a bad back, decided to start digging.
"Dig down and dig over about probably 3 or 4 feet, find the leak and then we'll either fix it ourselves or we'll find another angel that can help us," Bean said of the plan.
Some friends and passers-by have stopped to help.
For Bean, the project is about much more than a water leak.
"I don't think you're going to find a person that can love a church and God as much as I have all my life," she said.
Bean explained to FOX40 she started attending Fruitridge Christian Church when she was 5 years old.
"And I don't want this church to die because I think it's really important in this neighborhood," she said.
The South Sacramento congregation is down to about 20 members these days. The small church played a big role in forming Bean into the faithful, hard-working woman she is.
"The people who were here as I was growing up, I think they affected my life greatly," Bean explained. "And that's what's made me who I am, so I keep trying to give back to it."
She's going above, beyond and under the pavement to make sure the church survives.
"Just take it piece by piece and little by little. I figure it'll get there. How long? That's another question," Bean said. "But we're hoping somebody can help us, just hoping. We know we have good hearts out there. Just how do you get a hold of them?"