By Wayne Simone
Waterbury resident Robert Vonaa is a recovery specialist at Rushford in Meriden. His job is to help residents who have mental health issues or addiction problems recover and return to society.
That's his full-time gig. Vonaa also helped start New Beginnings, a food pantry for the hungry in New Britain, more than twenty years ago. This was inspired by a brief bout he had with homelessness a few years earlier. "I was there in the same shoes.,” Vonaa said. “I was lucky and made it out, but many of the people I see don't have the where-with-all to break out of homelessness. Sometimes it’s the skills, sometimes it's the hand that they were dealt, and other times it's their desire or their lack of desire.