On Dec. 15, at Santa Clara’s Voyager Craft Coffee (www.voyagercc.com, 3985 Stevens Creek Blvd.), coffee shop co-owner Sameer Shah wore a black and red plaid kilt with gray accents for “Mad for Plaid” day. The one-year-old business was also kicking off a book drive to support children from low-income families who are part of Read Santa Clara, the Santa Clara City Library’s free literacy program. Until the end of December, customers can drop off books into a decorated box at the coffee shop. Multicultural and multilingual books are especially welcome.
Judy Nadler, an ethics consultant and a former Santa Clara Mayor, came up with the idea for the book drive. A regular customer of the coffee shop, she has noticed that an employee here wears plaid everyday. So she suggested that the coffee shop do a “Mad for Plaid” day and asked to organize a community building program around this.
“I thought of the Read Santa Clara program and their need for books,” Nadler said. “I thought I would decorate the store with a few plaid ornaments and I thought I could put the box up. I had no idea the owners would be so incredibly generous to offer a discount. For the rest of the month, if someone comes in with a book for the book drive, they get 10 percent off their drink order.”
Nadler explained that Shah and fellow coffee shop co-owner Lauren Burns used to run a mobile coffee cart and that their Stevens Creek location is their first brick and mortar establishment.
“The quality of the coffee and tea and baked goods is spectacular,” Nadler said. “My husband gets the cappuccino. My personal favorite is their chai latte made with almond milk. When I have my chai latte, I feel like I’m having dessert. It’s that good. Their coffee comes from places they have visited, from Savannah to Bali. The coffee shop is called Voyager because both Sam and Lauren like to travel.”
Those who have access to books, such as the beneficiaries of this book drive, can also travel and escape to new places. As a volunteer with Read Santa Clara’s Family Literacy Program, Nadler holds the cause near and dear to her heart.
“The programs we generally do come in two parts—the reading part and an art project,” she said. “At the end, the children get to choose a book to take for themselves and keep. That helps them build their own library. I grew up with lots of books in my home. If you’re a new family coming to this country or if you’re a family struggling with lower wage jobs and high rent, you can’t afford to create a library. That is why I wanted to do the book drive…To see the joy on the faces of the children and how they treasure these books and how grateful the parents are is sometimes the most rewarding experience.”
“Leave it to Judy to combine some of her favorite things—literacy, her neighborhood coffee shop, and her creative skills—for the good of the community,” said Tracy Wingrove, Executive Director of the Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends. “Thank you to Judy, the staff at Voyager Craft Coffee and all the donors for making this a happy holiday for the kids.”
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about Read Santa Clara.