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Family gives child outfits to schools

October 6, 2018

Two hundred people crowded into the home of Denise (Dinning) and Greg Capoccioni in Harrison City on Sept. 20, many with a child’s outfit tucked under their arms.

Others, like Denise’s high school friend who now lives in New York, sent outfits through the mail.

The outfits for school-aged children were divided into bundles, put in colorful shopping bags and dropped off at elementary schools.

Denise and her daughter, Gia, 3, made a trip to Maple Ridge Elementary School in Somerset on Friday. The school received the donated outfits in memory of Denise and Greg’s daughter, Ava Capoccioni, who was stillborn on May 20, 2011.

While trying to find a way to heal from their devastating loss, Denise and Greg began holding an annual event for stillbirth and pregnancy loss awareness. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

This will be their last year, Denise said Friday.

The charitable project “takes a negative and makes it into a positive,” Greg said.

School officials recognize the effort.

“For the Capoccionis to take their tragedy and use it as a way to shine a positive light in this world means so much to us here at Maple Ridge,” said Carrie Seslow, a licensed clinical social worker at the school.

Denise said she chose a Somerset school because she is from the area. The teachers and the nurses in the schools tend to know which child has a clothing need.

“We truly appreciate the Capoccioni family and their generosity,” Seslow said. “What an amazing and giving way to honor their daughter, Ava. We have so many children here who can benefit from these generous donations. Our students will be thrilled to receive these new outfits,” she said.

The Capoccioni family planned to donate the other outfits to other schools in the area where they now live, one being Trafford Elementary School. Greg is an assistant principal at Penn-Trafford High School.

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