By Marlee Ginter

CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13) – Aleksandr Romanyuk looks for whatever will save his friends and family from enemy bullets in Ukraine.

“We were buying plate carriers,” said Romanyuk. “Most common thing they would use is an AK-47.”

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He just got back to Sacramento after a gut-wrenching visit to his home country and is now desperate to get them what they need. But he’s not alone.

“There’s only so many videos you can watch and so [much] crying that you can do that you want to do something tangible,” said Kathilynn Carpenter, Executive Director of Sunrise Marketplace.

She went beyond raising money.  She organized a donation drive with Deep Roots of Ukraine to collect combat medical supplies and protective gear in Citrus Heights.

“You know this is to save civilians’ lives. You know families and children,” said Carpenter.

Some bulletproof vests take heavy-duty plates that will protect against an AK-47. But aside from protection, they’re also looking at emergency help so they’ll take tourniquets, bandages, Israeli type if you can find them, but those are hard to come by.

“We have a lot of Ukrainians coming in but we also have a lot of civilians coming in that are donating,” said David Blaze, owner of Action Military Surplus in Sacramento.

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Blaze says they’ve seen so much support for Ukraine that supplies are selling out.  His store offers several different bulletproof vests with heavy duty plates, medical supplies, tactical clothing and boots.

“I start feeling like really proud because I see people really helping and it’s not just our people fighting for freedom,” said Romanyuk.

Romanyukr is proud, but above all, he now knows he’s not alone.

“It gives more like strength, they know they’re not alone, that help is on the way. Gives them more courage to fight,” he said.

The Protective Gear Drive for Ukraine is Saturday, April 16th at Marketplace at Birdcage located at 6177 Sunrise Blvd. in Citrus Heights.  They’ll be collecting donations to send to Ukraine from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM in the parking lot.

You can visit the Sunrise Marketplace website for more information on items needed or to make a monetary donation.

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