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Santa Barbara News Press: Company Offers a Way Out of an Abusive Relationship

May 09, 2007

Santa Barbara News-Press – Company offers a way out of an abusive relationship – Meathead Movers helps women pack up and leave

May 9, 2007

Deciding to get out of an abusive relationship can be difficult enough for a battered woman, let alone packing up and getting on with life.

San Luis Obispo-based Meathead Movers is helping women from Ventura County to San Luis Obispo County get into their new place by offering its services free of charge.

All a woman has to do is contact an agency with which family-owned Meathead has a contract and the job is done.

“This has been something that Meathead Movers has been doing since its inception” in 1997, said Garrett Woodroof, general manager. “Even in the beginning when it was just two or three guys, Aaron and Evan (Steed, the founders) offered their services.”

Aaron, who celebrated his 27th birthday on Monday, told the News-Press the program evolved out of real-life events.

“Sadly enough, as we were going about our business it wouldn’t be infrequent to get really frantic calls from women looking to get out of their homes,” he said. “They’d offer things like their TVs, Xboxes, all kinds of things to try to get out fast as they can.”

“We realized if they need us this bad, we’ll just get them out of there for free.”

Of course, they need to verify the situation and make sure that when the move happens — sometimes they take place with little warning — that the victim and the movers are safe. In some cases, a police officer is present, and there might even be a restraining order against the abuser.

“We have learned the best way to help is to come alongside the different shelters,” Mr. Woodroof said. “They can offer the best support to the victim and make sure things will be safe.”

For seven years, the company has worked with the Women’s Shelter Program of San Luis Obispo County, and recently it started contracting with Domestic Violence Solutions of Santa Barbara County, Interface of Ventura County and The Coalition to End Family Violence of Ventura County.

Donna Polizzi, of Domestic Violence Solutions, said Meathead Movers’ program will greatly benefit the organization.

“It is a huge blessing to us what they are offering,” she said.

Many of the employees are college athletes in the 18- to 23-year-old range.

“When they get hired, one of the questions we ask them is, ‘Do you feel comfortable doing these moves?’ ” said Mr. Steed.

Apparently everyone is just fine, given the cause.

“It’s something that we feel good about doing. It makes our business more than just a business,” Mr. Steed said.

Meathead provides the equipment, including boxes, and the brawn needed to flee domestic abuse. Mr. Steed estimated that they have helped dozens of women, totaling about $50,000 in free services.

“And the reaction we get is overwhelming,” he added. “We get calls from the women; some of them give us cookies. We get letters, pictures of their kids. We’re all proud to do this because we know it’s something that we can do to help out our community.”


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