by Dana Sanders
With a linebacker’s frame, and a voice like Al Pacino, Daniel Tocchini was living out a Scorsese scripted life of lying, cheating and fronting. At 28, dealing drugs, perpetrating criminal activity and all the while fronting as a local business owner, he was coming to the end of his rope. Although never arrested or incarcerated, he was keenly aware of his life’s trajectory.
In Tocchini’s own words: “I was angry. My parents divorced, my mother was bi-polar manic depressive and regularly hospitalized. My father was often absent. I ran the streets seeking excitement in crime. In truth however, I was in deep despair.”
“After a while, the thrill predictably waned. To avoid depression, I escalated my activity, even then I knew it was only a matter of time before I ended up alone, dead or locked up.”
But, Tocchini’s inevitable demise, turned out to be a reversal of fortunes. Tocchini was forced to face his life as it really was, experiencing the wounds he was working so hard to avoid and accounting for the legacy he was ultimately leaving his family.
A combination of crisis, intervention, insight and a relentless passion for reality led to an unprecedented possibility opening up. Now, more than a quarter century later, his life is new! It’s what Tocchini calls redemption.
“When I chose the crucible of standing responsible for my life, I was radically transformed.” says Tocchini. “Today, I am a redeemed expression of what my history was dictating I would become.”
“For me,” says Tocchini “transformation began by humbly accounting for my life. This ongoing discipline has given rise to new horizons in my life I didn’t even know were available.”
Dan has committed himself to sharing redemption with as many people in prison and with criminal histories as possible.
“Most of our staff are ex-inmates,” Tocchini boasts. “They are our society’s castaways… the untouchables. Guy’s & gals who’ve been sentenced to serve up to a lifetime in prison get paroled and are immediately written off as damaged goods. The sad thing is most people don’t realize the impact our penal system has on our society. Because of the sensationalized press reports and political propaganda they really have no idea the remarkable gift and resource these men and women can be!”
Tocchini says “We don’t mess around when it comes to assisting ex-inmates in developing their gifts. Our training, standards and expectations are the highest because we know from experience their dark sides. This doesn’t stop us from believing in who they can become. We set our team up to win. And when they get a hold of what’s possible, they’re unstoppable. I love working with people who are grateful for a second chance and love to pay it forward, that “is” REDEMPTION FOODS
For the team at Redemption, food is the invitation for people to bond in community. What distinguishes their work is their belief that – from the farm to the fork – they have the opportunity to play a part of redeeming it all. The ethos at Redemption bleeds the idea that every stop along the food chain is an opportunity to order the chaos of life and release beauty.
Having been around their culture – and more importantly, having tasted their food – it seems like every single person that works at Redemption gets this idea in their DNA. You’ve never met a more committed community!
“For us, service is a way of being together – a way of relating to each other – like family. That’s our primary mission,” says Tocchini. “We cook and cater with a conscience. In fact, it’s more than what we do; it is how we relate to and with each other in whatever we do.”
Give them a try. I think you’ll be surprised by what redemption can taste like.