Getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t easy—but actually packing up and moving out is even more daunting.
Hundreds of women have Aaron and Evan Steed to thank for coming to the rescue. These owners of a California moving company have volunteered to complete the move for them, free of charge.
When they first started their business, Meathead Movers in 1997, the high school athletes were simply looking for a way to earn some extra cash. Back then, their fee was usually $20 and a pizza.
As their business grew, the Steeds started getting occasional, frantic phone calls from women with little or no money who wanted to quickly move out before their abusers returned home. The sympathetic movers always declined any compensation and rushed to the address to load their belongings.
One day, in 2000, a situation turned volatile when the abuser came home in the middle of the move. It was then that the company decided it had to ensure that the women and the moving crew were both safe, so they partnered with a local women’s shelter.
“What was good about that is, they could be vetting the requests for help, supporting the women with counseling, and making sure when we went in, the proper restraining orders were in place, or police were on hand if necessary,” Meathead’s CEO Aaron Steed told Good News Network.
Beth Raub, director of the local women’s shelter, said that one of their staff is always on-site the day of the move so they can “call law enforcement if things get dicey.”
Since those days in 2000, the company has expanded into Santa Barabara, Ventura, Orange, Los Angeles, and San Diego counties. Whenever they open a new office, within the first week, they head to a local women’s shelter and knock on their doors.
“It’s the special service we like to offer,” Aaron said on a phone call. “These moves became very personal to us, made all the employees so proud, and became part of our mission statement.” He also said the same services are offered to any victim of domestic violence–male or female.
Aaron Steed says MM hires student athletes to give them an income while in school.
Yesterday, the company launched a new campaign that asks other businesses to “get creative” and help victims of domestic violence. Called #MoveToEndDV, the Meathead Movers hope to inspire others to rethink how they can work with shelters, or help women as they try to rebuild their lives and move into their first home or apartment.
“Some of our ideas are for businesses to offer free security systems, a dog kennel service, or for an auto-mechanic to provide oil changes,” Aaron said. “All those little things would help defer costs of starting over.
Their goal is to spark 100 new stories of businesses offering services, and form a like-minded community. Already they have received pledges from stylists for free haircuts, from a realtor offering rental searches, and a counselor who has offered to help.
“Were so excited about it,” said Aaron. “It brings so much more purpose and passion to our lives and if we can be an example for others, that is so much better.”