A stranger has donated $10,000 to a struggling South Auckland couple after reading their story in the Herald earlier this month.

The story told a man battling crippling motor neurone disease and his wife providing full-time care and unable to work, who together received less than $500 a week from the Government.

"We are living off food parcels and on the verge of losing our house because Government agencies are paying us less than minimum wage," Glenda Lovatt said.

Glenda said she and her husband Grant, 58, told their story to prompt action from the Government.


Instead they received multiple "generous gifts" for the public.

"About a week after the story came out we got this email from the girl who said her parents wanted to donate us $10,000 ... I thought it was a scam."

But holding on to hope, Glenda called the number at the bottom of the email.

"It was legitimate and the money is sitting in our account now."

And the generosity didn't stop there - a mutual friend donated a van with a lifter for Grant's wheelchair.

"We've also received three anonymous cheques in the letter box and the day the story came out I was walking to the diary and someone came up and gave me $50 cash. It was unbelievable."

She said the kindness had been an "absolute godsend."

"It just takes that little bit of pressure off, now we no longer has stress about getting my car fixed or replacing the fridge."

But she said most of it will go towards mortgage repayments and hopefully a bit they'll be able to save to continue living in Auckland.

A reader donated $10,000 to Glenda and Grant Lovatt after the Herald ran a story about them relying on food parcels to survive. Photo / Greg Bowker
A reader donated $10,000 to Glenda and Grant Lovatt after the Herald ran a story about them relying on food parcels to survive. Photo / Greg Bowker

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni told the Herald three weeks ago she had asked her ministry for urgent advice on the case.

Glenda said she hadn't heard a word from any Government agency until Work and Income called today.

"We've booked an appointment with them first thing tomorrow morning to discuss our case."

Grant was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2012. In 2014 a neurologist gave him less than 12 months to live.

Five years later the Massey man has defied that prognosis. But he spends his days in an electric wheelchair and is completely dependent on his wife Glenda, 53, for full-time care.

Glenda Lovatt dresses, toilets and feeds her husband, and showers him with an assistant.

She cares for Grant herself rather than see him in Government-funded care. But it comes at a price — the Ministry of Health does not pay spouses who care for disabled partners at home.

Instead she is living on an offshoot of his Supported Living Payment from Work and Income.

Between them the pair get $494.20 per week, including accommodation supplement, supported living payment, and disability allowance and after deductions and debt repayments to Work and Income are taken into account.

But the response they have received from the public after sharing their story has been "heartwarming."

It's encouraging to know there's people out there who care."