A huge outpouring of support has been posted on social media after a mother who has been giving away free food for a year received negative comments about the service she started in her garden.

Mum-of-four Aimee Waters of family food 4 free posted on their Facebook page asking followers to ‘be kind’ after a number of private messages and comments on the page complained about the service, including asking why they had begun to ask for a £1 donation for each shopping bag of produce.

Aimee said the comments she received included one saying the service shouldn’t ask for a donation since the food donated to FF4F is given for free.

Another message said the service was 'letting down' a person in Easton, when Aimee explained they wouldn’t have a volunteer that could deliver an emergency box that far out of the local area.

Aimee explained in a Facebook live that the small donation will help towards running costs and the purchase of ‘dry goods’ such as tinned items and pasta- as the vast majority of food donated by supermarkets is fresh. She also explained that whilst the team can deliver emergency boxes if requested, some places are too far out of the area for volunteers and instead offers information of services closer in location.

Since the post hundreds of people including Chipping Sodbury’s mayor have commented in support of the team and the work they have done throughout the pandemic.

Aimee and her husband Dan started the free service in the first lockdown, naming it family food 4 free due to the fact they were sharing their own food for free with people in need.

As the service grew, the couple started a pop-up shop in their front garden and have filled it seven days a week since with food that would otherwise be wasted by local supermarkets including Tesco and Waitrose. Other donations to the pop-up shop comes from local residents.

Over the past 12 months the service, which is not a registered charity and is run entirely on a voluntary basis, has seen such exponential growth that Aimee said South Gloucestershire council, social services and local schools all now refer people to them.

Due to the service now having around 120 people a day visiting the shop as well as sending emergency boxes to families who are unable to attend due to shielding, the team decided to start asking for a £1 donation per bag of food that would help towards the running of the shop.

James Ball Mayor of Chipping Sodbury who has championed the team throughout, said: “What Aimee and Dan have managed to achieve in just over twelve months is simply staggering.

“Sit down for two minutes and imagine your family doing the same for the local community. I very much doubt that anyone else could do this for a week, let alone a year and that is why they need to be applauded for their herculean efforts.

“I find it quite sad that some people find it in themselves to say negative or derogatory comments when others are doing so much to help so many in the local community in their time of need.”

Another commentator added: “It's actually so upsetting to see more and more negative comments on this page when all the family do is try and support as many people as possible EVERY SINGLE DAY.

“Aimee has spent the last year 100% dedicating her time to helping hundreds of people, she's giving up her garden for a community shop, she's giving up precious time with her babies to collect donations, restock the shop and answer messages, she's spent her own money and sometimes doesn't even get a thanks.

“I think a lot of people are starting to take this lovely woman for granted.

“I'm very lucky to be able to do my own food shop but I feel so much better knowing Aimee is there for support if I couldn't.”

Aimee said the team will be attempting to register as a charity this year, once completed they will be able to apply for grants to help the running costs of the service.

She added: “Its not nice to receive negative feedback- we truly try our very best to help as many people as we possibly can. The support after I shared what had happened, has been amazing- I cant thank everyone enough.”