Project Please Help gives 'a little touch of love'

Fresh paint coated the walls and a flat-screen TV hung in the living room across from a new art wall.

Newly hung curtains framed the windows and brightly patterned pillows livened up the couch.

"I just walked into my house, and I was like, 'Oh, my God! Are you kidding me?'" said Sarah Reeve, a single mother of two whose Eastside Costa Mesa two-bedroom home was the recipient a two-day mini-makeover. "What amazed me is they used my stuff ... I'm so impressed because I would have never envisioned it the way they did."

"I love it," Reeve's 6-year-old son Luke yelled into the phone.

Costa Mesa resident and mother of four Jaime Rice, 33, orchestrated the changes as part of Project Please Help, an organization she created to help hardworking mothers.

Although Reeve, 39, didn't ask for help, something she said made Rice think she would be a good candidate for her organization's first makeover.

Reeve, an human resources representative at South Coast Plaza, is hardworking and gives to her church and different service organizations, said Costa Mesa resident Gina Paige, who helped with the makeover and has known Reeve for several years.

"She does so much for so many people," Paige said. "She's an amazing mom, so I jumped at the chance."

Reeve said she was initially nervous about the makeover and letting people into her home.

Home design isn't in her skill set, she said, but she didn't think anyone would have the time to help her with it.

"It is one of those things you know you need help with, but you don't want to ask," she said, adding now she might start entertaining friends at home.

Rice was surprised by how many people — from friends to strangers — donated their time and money after she sent out an email asking for assistance.

"I was overwhelmed with the response — like a flat-screen TV? Who does that?" she said.

The idea for Project Please Help came out of Rice's own experiences.

After her fourth child, Rice needed help but couldn't afford it.

"It's been a dream for me," she said. "There are people to feed the homeless ... but there's not really a project you can count on for hardworking moms."

She wants to give moms the help they need, whether it's washing the windows or redecorating the living room. Ideally, she would like to turn Project Please Help into a nonprofit.

While Rice said having a comfortable place to live isn't life or death, a home is a place a mother raises her children. She wants mothers to feel good about where they live and be able to come home at the end of the day and be at peace.

"Everyone's deserving of a little touch of love," she said.

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

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