RICHMOND, Va. -- Law enforcement officials from across Virginia came together to gather protective gear to send to Ukrainians who are fighting for their country during the Russian invasion.
Walking into a room full of protective gear, Ausrine Zagorodna is overwhelmed.
"That was mind-blowing. We had tears in our eyes," Zagorodna said.
Gas masks, bulletproof vests, helmets and more were donated for the people in Ukraine who are currently being devastated by conflict.
"Volunteers, they have zero gear," Os Zagorodnyy said.
He said that civilians in his war-torn country have stepped up to fight Russia but are doing so with limited armor.
"I mean, they're given a rifle and basically allowed to go to war," Zagorodna said. "Simple civilians like you and I would just go and protect the home, the way they live."
To help them out, volunteers with the organization Uplift Ukraine collect gear from all over the Commonwealth to send to Ukrainians.
There are about 1,600 pieces so far with more pledges on the way. The bulk of the donations come from law enforcement agencies across Virginia.
"So much of our equipment that we use has expiration dates on it and it's frustrating that you can't really use them anymore," Dana Schrad with the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police said.
He said this mission is a great way to expand the shelf life of materials that would otherwise be thrown away.
"If we can basically redirect them to the Ukrainians and help people in need, that's satisfying for our law enforcement agencies," Schrad said.
Donations are coming from officers and deputies from places across the state, from King George, Falls Church, Harrisonburg and Lynchburg, to name a few.
"They have collected all kinds of resources, brought them together, and they're bringing them down here to Richmond," Schrad said.
Volunteers pick up the supplies from VCU, load them into a truck and then work with a company out of New Jersey that flies them out to Ukraine.
"We want to help, also, the Ukrainians, number one, smart home country. Number two, I mean, they're not fighting for their land or their freedom, but democracy over the world," Zagorodnyy said.
"We cannot stand and just wait for war to end because it's not going to end anytime soon," Zagorodna said.
Organizers say next, they'd like to reach the medical community to put some of their nearly expired supplies to use, such as emergency or trauma kits.