TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - There was undeniable proof on Sunday at Harvest Lane Alliance Church that the Toledo area is a welcoming community.
The church hosted an international potluck for refugees and immigr ants.
Participants broke bread and shared stories about where they've been and where they're going.
Each had a different welcoming experience, and all positive.
"I was very surprised by the diversity in Toledo and how friendly and welcoming everyone was," said Vietnamese refugee Hong Parshall.
Immigration has obviously been a hot political topic this year.
But organizers say they wanted to make a statement on this day.
"If it's political, it's political. But it's something that as Christians we believe is important for us to reach out to everybody, something we believe Jesus would want us to do," said Pastor Clint Hayslett.
The message of the community-building exercise is that you're welcome in Toledo no matter what your nationality or ethnic background.
There's no need to feel fear here.
Feel love and make yourself at home.
"Actually Toledo is a really nice area. People are very welcoming, very comfortable, especially to raise a family," said Nicaraguan refugee George Charchar.
Nicaraguan immigr ant Guisselle Mendoza agreed.
"Because there's folks that care about where I'm from and want to know more about the country that I left from," said Guisselle.
And the celebration just happened to coincide with another event: National Welcoming Week.