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Nov 26 2015

Volunteer Spotlight: Ellen Hoppensteadt

By Maria Gurovich for The Island Connection

 Ellen Hoppensteadt

Ellen Hoppensteadt

Ellen Hoppensteadt was raised by her grandparents in a small town in Tennessee: “I loved growing up there. It was peaceful. People knew each other well. Most of them lived there their whole life.” There, she met her husband and, shortly after in 1956, Ellen and her husband moved to the Chicago suburbs, where she ended up living most of her life.

In 1979, she moved to Fort Lauderdale, before moving to Ladson, SC in 2012. Ellen, who most of her life worked as a legal secretary, has 9 children and 19 grandchildren.

She has always been involved as a volunteer. She began volunteering with The Cooperative Feeding Program in Fort Lauderdale that served lunch to over 200 people a day. In addition to volunteering with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach and The Neighborhood House, she currently volunteers with five other nonprofits: the Lowcountry Food Bank, the Reading Partners, the Red Cross, Laundry Matters, and North Charleston Liberty Hill Academy. She also drives cancer patients to their appointments.

She first got involved with The Neighborhood House in 2012, when she met the kitchen manager, Vonceil, and has been serving lunch for the last three years. Ellen enjoys volunteering with the Cooking Matters program because it teaches people life skills. The program makes the participants embrace new ideasabout nutrition and implement them into their own lives. She strongly believes that everyone needs to give back and perform a daily Mitzvah (good deed). For instance, Ellen loves to pay for the person behind her in a coffee shop: “You always get back more than what you give. I believe it with all my heart.”

You, too, can get involved with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach and make a positive change in someone’s life. For more information on how to get involved with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach call 843.559.4109 or email

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