This shortage of space had been a hidden problem in our communities until recently when it became a very public issue. The problem came to light when the needs of Asian seniors, who viewed their neighborhood McDonald’s as a social meeting place, conflicted with the view of a local McDonald’s, who saw their restaurant as a place of business. As the two sides negotiated, they eventually agreed upon a settlement; the senior citizens would visit local senior centers during the busy lunch period.
Ron suggests that the root problem of this issue is “the lack of social meeting places in our urban communities” and offers a solution to help alleviate the problem. He suggests public-private partnerships be formed, and tax credits offered to those who open their places of business to our Asian seniors to hang out during non-busy hours.
Ron offers one viable solution to solve this problem. Let me suggest another which can work with his idea hand-in-hand.
Our Asian/Asian American churches have an opportunity to open their doors and be a part of the solution to this problem. In many ways, our churches are ideal solutions for this problem for the following reasons:
- Most churches are empty during the week when social places for our Asian seniors are most needed.
- This is an opportunity for our churches to serve and minister to our seniors in their communities.
- Seniors can feel comfortable hanging-out all-day without fear that they are driving customers away.
- The church can demonstrate their social responsibilities to the broader community.
- The church can show its love and compassion to those outside their four-walls.
Naturally, our churches should not overtly evangelize those that come or those seniors may decide the church is not the place for them to hang-out. However, the church can still answer any question they may ask. In addition, it would give those seniors who might never step into a church on Sunday, to do so for a social purpose during the week.
Of course, some churches are already doing this. Certainly many more churches can get involved. If the church is to play a significant role within its community, it needs to be active within that community. Here’s an opportunity to do just that.