(CNN)Aaron Steed knows the sound of desperation all too well.
"I would get phone calls from women looking to flee their abusive relationships. I would be on the phone, talking with them, hearing their stories with their voices trembling," the CEO and co-owner of Meathead Movers told CNN.
Aaron and his brother, Evan, have been answering those calls since they founded Meathead Movers 23 years ago. It's now a for-profit business that employs student-athletes, but those emergency moves are free.
"Their husband or boyfriend is on a business trip or away for two days," Steed recounted of the situations facing clients who want to escape. "'I just need to get out and get out now.'"
The call that changed everything
When Steed once was responding to one such call, the woman's husband surprised them during the move. The man became violent.
"He accused us of stealing his items. He screamed for us to put things down. A toaster oven was thrown," Steed remembered.
Police were called, and the Steed brothers realized something.
"We are not domestic violence professionals," Steed admitted. "We are movers that want to help."
Today, Meathead Movers works with eight shelters and organizations throughout central and Southern California.
Delivering for the community
"They did it with such pride and love," Dulce Flores told CNN, recalling the day Meathead Movers helped her into a new home.
Last year, Flores and her two children fled an abusive home.
"If I stayed, we would have fought. I didn't want it to get physical. I was afraid I might fight back, and I didn't want my kids to lose both of us," she said.
The Marjaree Mason Center, a social services organization, placed Flores and her children in an emergency safe house.
After a transitional program, the organization got the family into a home of its own, with Meathead Movers doing all the heavy lifting.