Seniors First, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving senior citizens, got involved in the important new film Leftovers (now available on VOD from Uncork’d Entertainment) when they heard the movie needed finishing funds. Marsha Lorenz, CEO and President of the organization, talks about the film and what she hopes people take away from it.
Can you tell us a little about your organization and how you got involved in the production of the film Leftovers?
Seniors First is one of the oldest and largest non-profit social service organizations in Central Florida dedicated to serving senior citizens. We are now in our 52nd year. Simply put, we help seniors live safe, healthy lives in their own homes where they prefer to be. We offer a wide range of in home services and are also the Meals on Wheels provider for Orange County.
We got involved with the film after learning this important project was struggling due to a lack of funding. Seniors First was instrumental in securing a grant from the Central Florida Foundation that provided the necessary financing to bring the film to completion.
Leftovers is an important film on the serious subject of senior hunger in America. Why do you believe people need to watch this movie?
You know, you hear about childhood hunger and homelessness but very few realize that 1 in 6 senior citizens in this country struggle with hunger and may not know where there next meal is coming from. 1 in 6! Our seniors have nobody to speak for them. We need to be their voice and this film presents the clear, unvarnished truth about what many seniors in our own neighborhoods and communities are dealing with every day. We also examine the tremendous food waste in America and explore possible solutions. Nobody living in the US should be going hungry.
Can you tell us about some of the people who are interviewed in the film?
One of the most interesting things about this film is that it demonstrates how senior hunger affects people from all walks of life. We talk with a client who was a Hollywood silent film actress. She lives in Marin County, one of the wealthiest areas in the country and we also visit Owsley County Kentucky, the poorest. We filmed in Detroit, Los Angeles, Orlando, Austin, and San Francisco and no matter where we went, there were senior citizens struggling with hunger. This is a nationwide problem. Senior hunger exists in every community in America.
Does the film shock people? What has been the audience reaction?
Yes, absolutely I think people are shocked. The comment we hear most is “I had no idea this was such an issue.” People find the situations in the film heartbreaking and uncomfortable to watch, but you know what else is uncomfortable? The fact that the people who fought our wars, built our communities, and taught in our schools are going hungry is uncomfortable. Working your whole life and then feeling like you’ve been cast aside by society is uncomfortable. I don’t apologize for that. This film should make you uncomfortable. It should make you angry.
What do you hope people take away from the film?
I hope people come away with a better understanding of how big this problem really is and a need to do something about it. I hope people pass the message and educate others; that they are motivated to volunteer and donate in their own communities so we can keep these programs going. I believe we can end senior hunger, but it’s going to take courage and it’s going to take all of us pulling together.
So what would you ask people to start doing today to make a difference in the lives of our senior citizens?
I would say start at the top. Email or call your representatives in Washington. Let them know you support our seniors and will be watching to see how they vote on funding for these programs as the 2018 federal budget moves through congress. Then take it to a local level and contact your city and county representatives. Finally, get involved yourself. Volunteer for Meals on Wheels, donate to local organizations that support senior nutrition programs. Get your church, civic organizations, and schools involved. That’s what I mean by all of us pulling together.
Can you tell us where we can find out more information on your organization and the movie?
Sure. You can go to our website which is www.seniorsfirstinc.org to learn more about the work we do, learn more about the film and watch the trailer.
Leftovers is now on VOD.