Meet Stop ‘N Shop Volunteer Chuck Bowden

On a Tuesday or a Thursday, you are likely to find Chuck Bowden talking about stereos, TVs or tools with a customer at the Stop ‘N Shop. Chuck has been volunteering with us for seven years and says he has found his niche with testing, tuning, refurbishing, fixing, cleaning and marketing all our audio and video products. He’s also a great listener with a wonderful, dry sense of humor.

Chuck’s interest in electronics started at age 10 with an electronic circuit set and a shortwave radio kit. In college he cast a wide net with a bachelor’s in humanities and an electrical engineering specialization. His first job was at the marine store at Shilshole Marina and, after a year or so, he was hired by Fluke Electronics in Everett to be a technical writer. After writing manuals for 15 years, he became a marketing specialist in the research and development of new product ideas. This brought years of international travel and lots of listening to and observing people in the electronics industry to help people use Fluke products.

When asked what keeps him volunteering, Chuck says, “When I see someone studying the electronic products, I really enjoy talking with that person and listening carefully to what they say and figuring out what they might need. I like seeing the hidden gems of older products that come in as donations. There was a 1970 Sanyo toaster made in Japan. It was a thing of beauty with its mirror-chrome sides and pivoting handle. Then there was the 1858 Jaeger LeCoultre Atmis Clock that runs off changes in air temperature.”

By Tessa Bowden, Stop ‘n Shop Coordinator
Photo: Gail Wodzin


Meet Volunteer Cynthia Fuda

Photo by Gail Wodzin

Just like a ray of sunshine, Cynthia brings light to the Senior Center. In just a couple of years, Cynthia has volunteered in almost every area of our programs.

Her volunteer work with us began in 2021 after Cynthia lost her husband. A friend of hers filled out the volunteer application for her because she could see that Cynthia needed to get out of her house and find joy in her community again. That is exactly what Cynthia says she found here. “This place brought out my joy and happiness again.”

She began as a front desk receptionist and then moved on to volunteering at Margie’s Café where she enjoys serving up yummy lunches on Fridays. Cynthia also loves to give tours and share all the exciting things about the Senior Center with new people who walk through our doors. Most recently, she has also started to use her creative flair to help with the window displays in the Stop ‘N Shop thrift store. She may also be the one serving you lunch at our monthly birthday lunches. Cynthia wears so many hats here, and she wears each one with style and grace.

Cynthia was born in Guam and, because her dad was in the Navy, they moved a lot before landing in Seattle. Because of moving so often, she enjoyed volunteering at a young age to get to know people. She lived on Capitol Hill with her three brothers and three sisters and attended Holy Names Academy. She has now lived in West Seattle for nearly 50 years. She worked as a manager at both West Seattle Safeways, a career that allowed her to meet and get to know most of the West Seattle community.

Cynthia has two children and five grandkids who she sees regularly. While raising her children, all the neighborhood kids loved to be at “Mama Cindi’s” house and raid the refrigerator. She still prides herself in having an open-door policy, and she loves to throw parties. She’s also close to her own 97-year-old mom and says her three favorite places are her own home, her mom’s home and the Senior Center of West Seattle. Cynthia’s kindness and generosity spill over into everything she does at the Senior Center.

By Sara Sara Hanson-Andreu, Volunteer Coordinator 


Meet Stop ‘N Shop Volunteer Sue Luke

By: Tessa Bowden, Stop ‘N Shop Coordinator Photo: Gail Wodzin

Sue has been volunteering at the Senior Center’s thrift store for almost a decade! When asked what she likes about the Stop ‘N Shop, she says “the interesting customers and the friendly staff.”

Sue had an impressive career that included positions with the Forest Service, Army, Air Force, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Environmental Protection Agency and NASA. She also taught English to university students in China and to third-grade children in Honduras. After exploring the world, Sue settled in West Seattle and has been here for more than 10 years.

So, come by the Stop ‘N Shop on a Tuesday—in addition to finding treasures and items you need, you’re bound to strike up an interesting conversation with Sue!


Meet Jennifer Garrett

Jennifer Garrett is one of our doubly-amazing volunteers because she works double duty— volunteering in both our Meals On Wheels and Westside Friends programs.

Every Wednesday mornings, Jennifer is here bright and early to help pack meals that go out for delivery with our Meals On Wheels volunteers. After she helps pack the meals, Jennifer gets in her car and delivers meals to six to eight homes every week. “Having access to food is most important,” Jennifer says. “This is a small part of making that happen. For some folks, this weekly delivery may be their only interaction that week.”

In our outreach program, Westside Friends, Jennifer has been visiting with the same participant since she began in 2018. She really enjoys their weekly visits. They both enjoy cooking, so Jennifer will sometimes pick up items at the store for them to cook a meal together. They also often take walks to work off some of that good homemade food.

Jennifer grew up in Bellingham, which she says was a great place to grow up. She would hop on a bus with a nickel, and her mom didn’t have to worry because every bus ended up back at the bus station, so she literally couldn’t get lost! She graduated from the University of Washington in 1988. Today, her two passions are her cats and music. She’s a professional part-time cat-sitter and plays bass guitar, violin and piano. She and her partner have a music studio in their basement and enjoy music together.

Jennifer’s grandma had passed away the year before she began volunteering at the Senior Center. She feels that her volunteer time, especially with Westside Friends, has benefited her just as much as the people she helps. “It feels like such a small, easy thing for me… with huge rewards.”