Brands and U.K. Media Respond to E.U. Migrant Crisis

Kimberly-Clark Sends Wipes, Diapers and Toilet Paper to Refugee Camps

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Save the Children
Save the Children

As the migrant crisis in Europe escalates and the continent struggles to cope with an influx of refugees from the war-torn Middle East, brands are starting to respond by sending supplies to help the humanitarian effort.

Kimberly-Clark has donated toilet paper, tissues, Andrex wipes, ear plugs and Huggies diapers in response to the #HelpCalais campaign, pushed by author and TV presenter Dawn O'Porter, who works for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, and is married to "Bridesmaids" actor Chris O'Dowd.

Ms O'Porter has been tweeting brands directly to try and raise donations of useful items, and an Amazon wish list, "Help Calais and Greece," has been set up, containing some of the most-needed items.

From tinned vegetables to razors to sleeping bags, there are many brands represented on the wish list, but so far none have come forward with offers of free products.

"Kimberly-Clark have been fantastic. They responded straight away to a tweet from Dawn. And we could not be doing this without Big Yellow -- they keep opening up more and more storage for us," a spokeswoman for for the #HelpCalais campaign said.

Nationwide storage company Big Yellow has provided free storage for items being donated to the campaign, both in person and via the Amazon wish list, as well as providing manpower to deal with the constant stream of deliveries.

A shocking picture of Aylan, a 3-year-old migrant boy whose body washed ashore in Turkey this week, has dominated the news in the U.K. today and inspired a surge in support across the country.

The top trending hashtag on Twitter in the U.K. is #refugeeswelcome, in support of a petition set up by the Independent newspaper to get the government to accept more asylum seekers into the country. The newspaper was the first national title to dare to publish the picture.

Even brands like shopping site ASOS, which have no connection to the crisis, are tweeting ideas on how its followers can help, and U.K. media outlets -- some of whom, like The Sun and the Daily Mail, have demonized refugees for years-- are unanimously calling for government action after the picture of Aylan changed the mood of the U.K.

Another consequence has been a boost to an online film produced by Save the Children in March, which has gone viral and racked up nearly 50 million views on YouTube.

It shows a young girl living a normal, comfortable childhood -- complete with friends, family, parties, and school -- where war is just background noise on TV bulletins. But her life quickly descends into the horrors of thirst, hunger, illness, and squalor, as bombing raids turn her nice suburban town into a war zone.

Germany is the preferred destination of many of the refugees, as the country has been more welcoming than many nations and is seen as a place of economic opportunity.

Sporting brands have contributed to Germany's reputation, with the country's top soccer team, Bayern Munich, donating 1 million euros to refugee projects. The club is also offering a youth academy training camp for young immigrants, providing meals, German classes and football equipment as well as soccer skills.

Kimberly-Clark did not respond to a request for comment.

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