Coffee house owner gives charity a jolt

OCEANSIDE — Vallie Gilley loves to make dough.
As owner of Jitters Coffee Pub at 510 North Coast Highway, she’s acquired a following of admirers who queue up when the shop opens for every variation of pastry from hot cinnamon rolls to croissants. Everything is made from scratch and baked daily.
Her best sellers are macaroons and lemon poppy seed muffins filled with cream cheese.
“They are crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside,” she said. “It’s a perfect bite of heaven.”
Gilley also bakes specialty items such as vegan chocolate cranberry cookies, gluten-free peanut butter cookies and wedding cakes.
“I try to use as many organic ingredients as I can, like berries, nuts and unbleached flour,” she said. “I buy locally and support the farmers market.”
A few months ago Gilley turned her sights to raising another kind of dough — cold cash — through a nonprofit she established called the Feeding the Soul Foundation.  
Her first fundraising effort, the Feeding the Soul Concert on March 6, sold out a week ahead of time and raised $5,000 for the Brother Benno’s Center, which serves food to the poor and homeless.
Gilley followed with another concert on May 6 billed “Muse-ic” that netted $2,000 for scholarships for the Rock and Roll Camp for Girls.
On May 24 the foundation is hosting a screening of the film “May I Be Frank” at the Linksoul Lab at 530 S. Coast Highway 101.
The independent film documents the transformation of Frank Ferrante, an obese, depressed and addicted man who turned his life around thanks to a helping hand extended by the staff of Cafe Gratitude, a vegan, raw foods restaurant in San Francisco.   
Profits from the $10 admission will underwrite the cost of the venue and chairs. Concession sales of Gilley’s baked goods will benefit, a blog run by an international team that promotes positive action and the sustainability of the planet. 
“The blog teaches people how to be ecofriendly,” Gilley said. “That is why we chose them. They interviewed us, blogged about and promoted all of our events.”
It’s no accident that Gilley has opened her heart to the global community. She had positive role models growing up like Harold and Kay Cutler, founders of Brother Benno’s, who were parents of childhood friends.
“They are the epitome of unconditional love,” Gilley said. “I get my generosity and love from my parents. They are my idols.”
She said her parents, John and Norma Gilley, recently celebrated their 49th anniversary with a sit-down dinner for 50 people. They have a commercial kitchen in their Oceanside home, which they have used over the years to serve up intimate, family-style meals for their two children, two foster children and 51 godchildren.
Gilley’s partner in life, and in business, is Clayton Ballew. The two met on the beach in Oceanside when she was 18 and he was 16.
“I’m the baker, and Clayton is the coffee master,” she said.
Ballew trained as a barista and coffee maker at Café Calabria in San Diego and West Coast Roasting Company. Gilley reports that he will take over ownership of West Coast Roasting Company in January.
New business ventures and ambitious plans to help those who are less fortunate keep the couple busy. Is there a family in their future?
“Who’s got time?” Gilley said smiling.
Tickets to “May I Be Frank” can be purchased at
A fundraising event tied to the album release from the band Bushwalla is scheduled June 3 at the Belly Up. Proceeds benefit the Bushwalla scholarship for the Rock and Roll Summer Camp for Girls.
For more information about upcoming events, visit
For more information about Jitters Coffee Pub, visit or call (760) 967-7886. Jitters is open weekdays from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.


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