A few months ago, Veronica left her abusive home with her two-year-old daughter and a backpack.
Now, the Orange County mother is working to move out of the safe house where she's been living and into a place of her own.
For Veronica -- whose name has been changed to protect her safety -- the move is one of her first steps toward independence -- but that doesn't mean she's without help. The men of Meathead Movers were there to move boxes and furniture for her, free of charge.
Top news of the day
"We try to do our best to make them smile, make them laugh, forget about everything," said Meathead Movers employee Spencer Araujo. "We try to just cheer them up."
Meathead Movers was founded in 1997 by student athletes looking to make some extra cash. The movers, however, soon began to encounter something unexpected: emergency calls to quickly move survivors of domestic violence.
Now, they service this community for free.
"The gratitude you feel and the appreciation that you get from the people you move ... you'll never forget it," said Meathead Movers employee Marc Gordi. "It's life changing. For both people, I think."
Veronica once believed that she didn't have a way out of her situation. To her, the move represents a "new life, a new beginning, a new everything."
She plans to take a suitcase, a dresser and some clothes to her new place. She said, however, that it isn't the things she's bringing with her that matter. It's that she can leave the past behind.
"(In an abusive relationship) you're withdrawn from everyone and you're secluded and now that that's gone," she said, "I'm moving forward. I've reconnected with everyone in my family again and it's just amazing."