Saturday, April 16 will be the last chance, for now, to buy affordable, fresh-off-the-boat fish and scallops at a bargain price at Tempest Fisheries Seafood Wholesaler at 38 Hassey Street in New Bedford between 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., according to co-owner Tim Mello.

It's something he does frequently to help the families of the New Bedford area get fresh seafood without having to break the bank.

"The cars start lining up early for fresh haddock, cod, swordfish and salmon. I post it on my Facebook page that 10-20 count scallops are just $80 for a half gallon – about four pounds – or $160 for a gallon," Mello said. "The everyday middle class wage earners, who hardly ever get a break, leave here with a great bargain for their money, and then I feel good that I could do something they'll really appreciate."

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What does it mean to start over in life? For Mello, who made headlines in the early 2000s for his criminal conviction on racketeering charges, it's a willingness to find a new purpose behind the past, understanding that hitting the bottom is a sacred place because that's the new starting line.

He's found that new purpose.

"When COVID first hit, there were a lot of people in need. I must have covered every soup kitchen, vets' home, churches, charities and non-profits from here to Providence," Mello said.

Even as the pandemic has waned, seafood prices remain high, supply chain issues keep shelves barely stocked, and inflation is causing prices to rise on just about everything. Blue-collar families on the SouthCoast are not only missing out on one of the staples of New Bedford-area cuisine, some are having trouble affording to feed their families overall.

"People are still hurting today. Out-of-town landlords jack up their rents, and they hardly have enough money from one paycheck to the next. The fish sale helps these hard-working families a lot, and they tell me so, because it makes a big difference."

Mello said it was a moment of divine intervention while he was incarcerated that started him on this path to redemption.

"When I was in prison, Mother Teresa asked to be brought to the worst place, Cell Block 10," he said. "She came to my cell, spoke to me and then took my hand and kissed it. Can you imagine Mother Teresa, who went around the world giving poor people hope, kissing my hand?"

Mello has survived a liver transplant and throat cancer and still is content with the hand he was dealt, because he knows he has to make the most of his second chance.

"My life has changed. I'm not the same guy," he said. "I feel God gave me this opportunity."

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