Greensboro organization helps immigrants and refugees adjust to the community

From the outside, FaithAction International House looks like just another house. But, what's happening inside is life-changing.

“From the time they ring the doorbell to the time they leave, you see a big difference,” said Reverend David Fraccaro, FaithAction’s executive director. “A lot of that burden has been lifted. They`re leaving with smiles, they`re leaving with a restored sense of dignity and belonging in our community.”

FaithAction International House serves thousands of immigrants and refugees each year. “While many of them come with tremendous challenges, they also have tremendous gifts to offer our community,” Fraccaro said.

Since FaithAction opened in Greensboro 20 years ago, Fraccaro says the immigrant population has grown 750 percent.

“In the midst of these demographic shifts, each of us has a crucial choice to make,” Fraccaro said. “Will we fear one another as strangers or embrace one another as neighbors?”

At FaithAction, immigrants in need can get help with basic necessities like food, housing, and a valid form of ID. They can also take English, computer and job readiness classes.

"If we offer even a pinky’s worth of welcome to our newest neighbors, they`ll pay it back tenfold,” Fraccaro said. “They`ll end up being not only our best construction workers and agriculture workers, but some of our best scientists, teachers, soldiers, and pastors.

Fraccaro says it is important work that wouldn't be possible without the support of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro

“It means we`re not alone in our work. There are people and institutions that believe in our work, that believe in dignity for all people, that believe we`re a better community when we embrace our new community,” he said.

Another big part of FaithActions work that the Community Foundation supports involves its Stranger to Neighbor Program. It aims to break down walls and barriers between immigrants and the larger community through education and social events which build understanding and deeper relationships.