A St. John's man, who was charged with theft after he stole $40 of food because he says he couldn't afford to buy it, says support it still rolling in after people heard about his story.

CBC News reported on Lewis Kearney's story last week. He appeared in provincial court after he was caught shoplifting food from a grocery store.

Kearney said he's no longer worried about where he's going to get his next meal, thanks to overwhelming donations from people who heard his story. 

He's also now getting a response after months of reaching out to the provincial government for help.

"They also approved an eye examination for me and part payment on a pair of new glasses with bifocals. I had been after that for months, but when [CBC's] story broke, it all came true — it's like living in a fairy tale right now," he said.

The glasses will help Kearney see clearly, but they won't stop him from falling down.

Kearney is paralyzed on one side and loses his balance. Four months ago, he requested an emergency panic button call device. After his story aired, he was approved for the potentially life-saving device.

Things looking up

Kearney said he's happy things are improving for him, but he said he believes things would have been easier if he'd been able to get in touch with his social worker.

"I seen my social worker when I applied for social services in 2005 or 2006 around there, and I've never heard from her since," he said.

Kearney said he reached out to his case worker when he needed emergency funding for food, but she never returned his calls.

"When you're desperate, you're desperate. If they had to give me that emergency funding, even if it was $20, at least I could have got something to eat until my cheque arrived," he said.

Kearney will have food for a while, thanks to donations from the public, and said his new panic button will make him feel safer when he leaves the house. 

He added that he hopes his new outlook on life will give him the confidence to find a job.

With files from Amy Stoodley