Growing number of people forced to choose between rent and food as cost of living continues to soar.

Iran Press/Europe: During rush hour on one of London's most affluent streets, amid the bustle of the Strand, an orderly queue is forming. Dozens of people stand patiently, and hungrily, waiting for their dinner,English newspaper reports.

The gathering, near Charing Cross station, comprises people of all ages and ethnicities. Some look visibly homeless, clutching large carrier bags containing their worldly possessions. Others wear work clothes. Despite having a job, they can’t afford to eat,as reports Independent.

Piles of food packages await under a pink gazebo. As volunteers hand them out, bread and pastries are scoffed into hungry mouths. Many people eat standing up; others find a picnic spot on the ground; some leave to take food home.

Commuters passing by on the main road peer curiously before rushing on. Well-dressed couples cut through the snaking queue on their way to the theatre. “It’s a disgrace!” shrills one woman wearing a large pearl necklace as she and her husband saunter away.

Chatting jovially to people as they wait in the queue is Steven Stuart, founder of the Friends of Essex and London Homeless charity, which provides the food handouts in the same spot every Wednesday evening.

“When we first started we had about 30 or 40 people each time, now we have anywhere between 150 and 250. It’s an opportunity for people to get some food, so that they can still pay that bill to have somewhere to live,” he says.

“We find that people are not homeless as we know it. A lot of people are homeless and working. We get Deliveroo drivers quite a lot. There’s a road sweeper who picks up the rubbish who comes along sometimes. He’s not homeless, but I wouldn’t imagine he’s earning a great amount of money.

“A lot of people [are] no different to you and I. Rents outstrip wages by so much these days and people are losing their jobs all the time. Some people have just taken a left turn and need a bit of help.”