NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, England — Bill Corcoran is in his usual spot, in the shadow of St. James’ Park, opposite Shearer’s bar, rattling his bucket, when a pack of a dozen Manchester United fans marches past.

They are wearing black jackets, hoods raised to stave off the cold. Just as they reach Corcoran, they launch into a deeply unflattering, mildly profane chant about the man after whom the bar is named: Alan Shearer, favorite son of both Newcastle the city and Newcastle the team. A few home fans jeer in response. The heckling just makes the interlopers sing louder.

Toward the tail of the group, one man spots Corcoran, and veers in his direction. He pulls his wallet from his pocket, and leafs through a fistful of green, orange and purple notes.

“Who are you collecting for, mate?” he asks. His accent is broad Mancunian. “Newcastle fans’ food bank,” Corcoran replies, his vowels unmistakably North Eastern.

The man pauses. He shuffles the bills, and chooses a purple £20. He slips it inside the bucket, and hurries after his group. He picks up the refrain effortlessly. He is back to taunting Shearer, and Newcastle, before Corcoran has even had a chance to thank him.

Over the next hour or so, dozens of fans stop at the same spot. Some donate money. Some come bearing bags of groceries, filled to the brim with canned fruit and breakfast cereals and dried pasta, to be dropped off at the makeshift booth behind Corcoran.

Today is not a special occasion: the same thing happens every time Newcastle plays at home. So acute is the hunger in Newcastle now, so intense is the demand, that Corcoran, and a handful of other volunteers, do this every two weeks.

Everything they raise — and they have raised a lot, somewhere in the region of £200,000 ($258,000), they believe — is sent to the West End Food Bank, in one of Newcastle’s most deprived areas. It is the largest institution of its kind in Britain. “We can’t have people in this city starving,” Corcoran said. “It is a badge of shame.”

That dire state of affairs is not, though, unique to Newcastle. The demand for food banks in Britain has soared in recent years: the Trussell Trust, which runs more than 400 such programs, said it distributed some 1.3 million food parcels from its centers in the fiscal year ending in March, an increase of 13 percent.