Always looking for ways to give back to the city they love, Jeff and Barbara Orth of Integrated Financial Benefits have found a way to reach out and help during the pandemic.
When it became apparent that people were going to have a long-term need for personal face masks, Barbara Orth started sewing. She drafted Jeff and their office assistant Wendy Noboa to help with production, and to date have made and donated more than 850 masks to friends, clients, Community Solutions, the seniors at Merrill Gardens and other organizations that had a need.
“It’s a little thing, but if a pretty mask puts a smile on a face, even if hidden, then it’s worth doing,” Barbara Orth said.
Giving back to Gilroy is not a new thing for the Orths. About six years ago they purchased the Holloway House on Eigleberry Street for their office. It had fallen into disrepair, and they put in time and effort to return it to the Victorian home it was back in 1903. Before Covid-19 shut down social and business gatherings, it was not uncommon for the Orths to donate use of the building for local non-profits or community groups to hold their events.
“We feel that this home belongs to the people of Gilroy, as well as us,” Jeff Orth said, “and we want as many to enjoy its history and beauty as possible.”
A big advocate for literacy and books, Jeff Orth and his grandchildren decided to build a Little Free Library as a project last summer. Designed by Jeff to match The Holloway House, it has had a lot of visitors.
“It brings a smile to our faces when we see a parent and child, sitting on the curb outside our office, reading a book they selected from the library,” he said.
The idea is to “take a book, leave a book,” but so far, donations from friends have managed to keep The Little Free Library well-stocked.
Helping out in another way, for a recent coat drive, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Gilroy, Integrated Financial Benefits was able to collect four large bags full of coats.