Customers of The Daily Grind often caught a glimpse of baby pictures while ordering from barista Jordan Soto, who always had a caring smile and lovingly showed off photos of her cute 6-month-old son.
As a single mom, The Daily Grind was one of two jobs the 24-year-old Soto worked to support Dominic Dash.
Now, pictures of the Santa Barbara native and her son, “Baby Dash,” are displayed on counters at both Daily Grind locations — 2001 De la Vina St. and its newly opened store at 2912 De la Vina St. — as the local business remembers and rallies behind Soto, who died suddenly Jan. 30.
The coffee and juice bar has created a Jordan Soto Memorial Fund with the hope of raising $15,000 for Baby Dash.
The community has responded, in turn, by donating more than $9,000 in the first week.
“She was part of our family here,” co-owner Yolanda Gonzalez told Noozhawk. “We are a very tight-knit group of people. We thought, ‘Is there something we can do for her and for the baby?’ It’s been a very difficult time for us all.”
Soto was in her second year working at The Daily Grind, and moved to the Upper De la Vina Street when it opened in October because Gonzalez admired her dedicated work ethic.
Gonzalez said she knew Soto her whole life as a friend of the family, which did not wish to share how Soto died.
She is survived by her parents, Cindy and Ruben Soto, and by two brothers.
She went on to earn an esthetician (cosmetology) certificate from Santa Barbara City College, and had worked at several local salons and restaurants.
Gonzalez described Soto as a vibrant young woman who remembered her regular customers’ orders and their names.
“She was a single mom and trying her best,” she said. “She just lit up the room with her smile. She was just always happy.”
Some of Soto’s friends have organized a community rummage sale, with proceeds to benefit Baby Dash.
The group created a Facebook event, and is requesting that items for the sale be dropped off by Friday at 4633 Tajo Drive, off South San Antonio Road east of San Marcos High. The rummage sale is Saturday at Santa Barbara Dance Arts, 531 E. Cota St.
Gonzalez said this is the first fundraiser ever organized for an employee at The Daily Grind, which opened in 1995.
“People who see the poster remember her,” she said. “I think that’s why the fund has really grown so quickly. Her son was her pride and joy.”