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Self-Help Credit Union

Community Trust Federal Credit Union: A Sister Act


Community Trust FCU at a Glance

Original name: 
West Orange Farmers Health Association

Year Founded:
1982

Founders: 
"The Apopka Nuns" (Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur) working with local coalitions

Year of Merger with Self-Help:
2014

Original Founding Location: 
Apopka, FL

“Our work is to embrace and to bring people in. ‘You belong here, you belong in this country. We belong to each other.’” - Sister Ann Kendrick

In 1971, the Catholic Bishop of Orlando, Florida, then a newly formed diocese, felt called to reach out to migrant farmworkers who worked in local fields. Four members of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur – Sisters Cathy Gorman, Gail Grimes, Ann Kendrick and Teresa McElwee -- responded to that call and moved to Apopka, Florida. They began their mission by listening to local people and organizations to better understand community needs

Then the sisters and their community partners began performing their miracles. Working together, they greatly expanded badly-needed resources in the Apopka area, including a health facility, better housing options, a justice and peace office and—most relevant here—a credit union.

With the start of Community Trust Federal Credit Union, farmworkers and other low-income families had a safe place to keep money and an affordable way to save for the future. In 2014, Community Trust FCU merged with Self-Help Federal Credit Union, with headquarters in California. More recently, in 2018, that entity became part of Self-Help Credit Union, based on the east coast.

This short documentary (seven minutes) includes interviews with local credit union members and Sister Ann Kendrick, one of the renowned “Apopka nuns” who has worked in the community for decades. According to Sister Ann, the credit union is a “holy, sacred trust.” We hope you’ll take time to watch the video and experience a bit of this trust.