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The Suppa family
The Suppa family created and sold silicone bracelets to help provide personal protective equipment for front-line workers. Clockwise from the top: Antonio and wife Daniela, their daughter Angela, sons Matthew and Christopher, and Matthew’s girlfriend Jessica Kotsopoulos. (Photos: submitted)

May 14, 2020

Three Seneca graduates — mom Daniela Suppa and her two sons Matthew and Christopher — recently joined hands to provide essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line workers leading the fight against COVID-19.

As part of a family project, the three designed and sold silicone bracelets with inscriptions FrontlineHeroes and StrongerTogether. The initiative raised $1,600 for Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, currently a COVID-19 assessment and treatment centre. In addition, 250 face shields and 200 ear guards made by Matthew’s girlfriend’s family, the Kotsopouloses, were also donated to the hospital.

“My brother had been watching the difficulties faced by hospital staff in getting proper PPE,” Matthew said. “We put our heads together and came up with something that would help our front-line workers.”

#FrontlineHeroes, #StrongerTogether wristbands

Helping others in the community is as strong a tradition for the Suppa family as is their association with Seneca. Daniela, a 1984 graduate of Seneca’s School of Nursing, retired after 35 years as a registered nurse and was a front-line worker during the 2003 SARS outbreak. Both her sons are graduates of Seneca’s Police Foundations diploma program. Christopher completed his program in 2016 and works as a security guard at Mackenzie Health; Matthew graduated in 2017 and is a York Regional Police constable.

With the help of dad Tony and sister Angela, the family marketed the $5 bracelets to their friends and acquaintances, mainly by word of mouth, as a mark of gratitude and support for front-line workers.

“It was amazing. We sold quite a few bracelets in the first few days and it just took off from there,” Matthew said. “My family and I believe that during these times we all have a part to play and this was our part. We hope we can inspire others to think of creative ways to assist their communities during this crisis.”