Security camera photos reportedly show a man believed to be Manchester bomber Salman Abadi carrying a backpack. The UK is on its highest threat level as authorities investigate a ‘network’ of alleged attackers. (May 24)

An international fundraising effort spearheaded by media companies in the United Kingdom has collected $1.58 million to support families of the victims in Monday night’s Manchester Arena attack that killed 22 and injured 59.

The goal is to raise 2 million pounds — or about $2.6 million — to help families in the aftermath of the Manchester attack. A suicide bomber detonated a powerful explosive just as a concert by singer Ariana Grande was ending, creating a scene of horror seen around the world.

But hundreds of newspapers across the U.K. have decided to band together to help in the relief effort.

The ambitious goal started out modestly enough. The Manchester Evening News, owned by Trinity Mirror media group in the U.K., initially set a goal of raising 250,000 pounds, or about $325,000 at today’s exchange rate.

Then the donations started pouring in. The aim of the campaign grew, with many contributors on the JustGiving crowdfunding page leaving messages saying that they were grateful for a chance to help.

“You are not alone, Manchester is here for you,” wrote contributor Lyndsey Sinclair-Fallis, who gave 10 pounds.

“Stay strong. Love and peace to everyone,” wrote Maya Kurjanova, who also contributed 10 pounds.

It wasn’t long before the Manchester Evening News attracted even more help from its publishing brothers-in-arms — and even its competitors. Toby Granville, the Editorial Director of Trinity’s publishing rival Newsquest Media Group, said the two mega-publishing chains are standing together to raise money through the generosity of their readers.

“Today, we at Newsquest have decided to stand together with rival publisher Trinity Mirror to publicize their appeal through our own network of 165 news brands,” Granville said Wednesday. He called the Trinity Mirror’s raising of 1 million pounds in 48 hours a “phenomenal response” that Newsquest would like to help double to 2 million pounds. (EDITORS NOTE: Newsquest is owned by publishing giant Gannett, which also owns USA TODAY.)

The Manchester Evening News wrote that it will transfer all of its donations to the British Red Cross when fundraising has ended, which ensures that the funds go to the families who need the money.

“We are so grateful for the support so far and can’t thank the people of Manchester enough,” the newspaper wrote.