Last week, people of the province were shocked to learn the story of Lewis Kearney, a St. John’s man who appeared in court to answer charges of theft for taking $40 worth of food from a local grocery store.

Kearney, who relies on income support totaling $115 per week, turned to crime when government subsidies for heat and light bills were cut and his financial situation became impossible. After the story broke, there was an outpouring of sympathy for Kearney in the form of food donations, and the provincial government quickly responded to his earlier requests for assistance with health-related issues.