What is GEAF?
Groomers Emergency Assistance Fund is the brainchild of pet stylist Ileana Nogueras. When there was an emergency or disaster, Ileana noticed how difficult it was to help fellow groomers. Who should be trusted? Where should help and supplies be directed? Scammers took advantage of sad situations. Ileana knew there had to be a better way. Efforts needed to be structured, efficient, and organized.
When Hurricane Sandy occurred in 2012 Ileana reached a turning point. Everyone was aware of the devastation. The economic loss to businesses was up to $30 billion dollars. She knew something needed to be done.
Ileana reached out to her friends in the grooming industry — Ellen Ehrlich, Daryl Conner, Judi Cantu Thacker, Dawn Omboy, and Mary Oquendo. She shared her ideas and plans for an organization to help groomers in need. Everyone jumped on board. They saw the need. They wanted to help. The Groomers Emergency Assistance Fund was born. The group has grown to include Jennifer Walker, Milena Bermudez, and Jameson Kon.
The Groomer’s Emergency Assistance Fund (GEAF) is an advocate for professional pet groomers in the United States affected by unforeseen illness or tragedy. They provide outside resources for assistance (gofund.me, youcaring.com) when needed and help qualified applicants financially. GEAF is a 501c(3) Corporation registered non-profit with the IRS. Currently, they assist groomers only in the United States. They operate with full transparency.
How to apply?
Fill out the application. http://geaf2013.org/application-for-assistance/. It can be filled out online or printed and mailed.
When an application is submitted, it is posted on the GEAF Admin social network page and discussed by the members. All applications are fully vetted. We look at insurance claims, local newscasts, police reports, and onsite visits, and other factors before making a group decision.
Groomers want to know where to send help. We recently heard from Devon Carpenter. She was sorting through her tools and reached out, “Where can I send donations?” We replied, “Don’t wait.” Send us the grooming goodies you no longer need, use, or want so the Groomers Emergency Assistance Fund is prepared. Let us know the fair value of what you are sending. We are happy to send you a receipt for your taxes.
How to help:
1. Make a direct donation to Groomers Emergency Assistance Fund through paypal. GEAF2013@aol.com.
2. Purchase a t-shirt at a grooming convention and wear it. Our vendors carry them at the shows. Your support will encourage others to support the Groomers Emergency Assistance Fund. Perhaps they will purchase a t-shirt. If you don’t see them, ask.
3. Groom a dog or cat once a month and donate the groom fee to GEAF.
4. Look for donation jars are at the grooming shows. No donation is too small.
5. Attend and participate at our fundraisers. The Internet Social at Hershey Groom Expo is a biggy! Plan ahead and join us for the Thursday night raffle, complete with snacks and a cash bar. We give away clippers, shampoos, tools, bows, books, shears, and more donated by our generous vendors. It’s an evening to meet up with old friends and make new friends. Win prizes and have fun while you support the Groomers Emergency Assistance Fund.
6. Contribute. Blades, shears, and tools are sharpened and refurbished. Send them to: Frank Rowe & Sons, 26 South Union Street, Middletown, PA 17057. GEAF uses the items to create tool kits for groomers in need. Recently two tool kits, worth $387.56, were delivered to two Louisiana groomers, whose salons were damaged in the flood.
7. Donate to our Silent Auction. Peruse local and online stores for sales and bargains for quality pet products. Send it to us or bring it to participating shows. If you are attending a show and find we are running a Silent Auction and want to donate, you can purchase items from the show vendors. Contact us by Facebook private message and we will gladly meet you and accept your donation.
8. Organize a dog wash, groomathon, or a fundraiser of your choice. Call your grooming buddies and organize. Perhaps there is a pet stylist in your neck of the woods that could use some assistance. Reach out to them. Pay it forward.
9. Support our vendors — both at the shows, and online. If you support them, you are supporting the Groomers Emergency Assistance Fund.
Top pet stylists in our profession have graciously donated their time and talent to create short videos, “Tips from the Pros.” They share the tips and tricks they use in their everyday grooming. Attend classes sponsored by GEAF — TBA. Wine & Paint, Coloring with Dawn Omboy, and Needle Felting with Ellen Ehrlich are on the horizon.
Our second nomination in the grooming industry resulted in a Barkleigh Award for “Contribution To The Industry.” Thank you for the support. The Groomers Emergency Assistance Fund is committed, honored, and proud of this recognition and is dedicated to continue earning it. Ileana states, “Our mission is to help our fellow groomers when disaster strikes. When our industry stands together, everyone wins.”
Ellen Ehrlich is a mobile pet stylist who loves to think, talk, read, and write about pet grooming. Next to grooming, Ellen loves to empower, motivate, and inspire other groomers. Ellen is the author of The Successful Pet Groomer, Go Mobile And Succeed, and 49 Essays On Pet Grooming. For more information go to: www.gomobileandsucceed.com