Growing up in Canton, Ohio, Bob Littmann, Associate Director of Client Services for the Freestore Foodbank’s Customer Connection Center, always thought he would pursue a profession in the field of law. But that vision would change when he took on a part-time job at a Law Library while working towards his Masters degree in Law and Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. “After working there for a month,” he says, “I had decided I couldn’t live in the law library for three years.”
Subsequent field placements in the areas of Planning and Administration rounded out his education, and Bob finished his degree in just 1.5 years. He moved back to Cincinnati where he received his Bachelor’s degree in social work at the College of Community Services at the University of Cincinnati. In 1993 he joined the faculty of the U.C. School of Social Work in 1993 as an Assistant Adjunct Professor.
Prior to joining the Freestore Foodbank in 2002, Bob was the Executive Director of the Terrace Guild, a Freestore Foodbank community partner, for 15 years and also was the Interim CEO for Cincinnati Union Bethel for six months in 1996-97.
“What’s important is being able to help my staff manage their stress of having to work every day with a large number of people experiencing hunger, joblessness, homelessness, mental illness, disability, and domestic violence.” A major part of Bob’s job as a manager is to help prevent staff from burning out and becoming indifferent to the individuals with whom they work.
“A lot of the issues we see are employment-related,” he says. “And often times, mental health issues keep them from seeking the help they need. It’s a lot like being around radiation – you’re affected by it.”
Bob grew up in a family that believed in public service. His grandfather was a Lutheran Minister at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Madisonville and his father, a retired engineer, volunteered with Madisonville Education and Assistance Center (MEAC) for several years.
Bob’s wife, Kathy, has been with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center for 35 years as an Occupational Physical Therapy Lead Scheduler. His daughter, Michelle, is working on her Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy at Mount St. Joseph’s and his son, Chris, is a Senior Digital Editor for the Sporting News in Charlotte.
Bob has played with his band Woodnote for many years, performing in local establishments and Queen City Balladeers as well as playing for several Freestore Foodbank related fundraisers (Empty Bowls and Hogs vs. Hunger).
Bob has been active in a number of organizations including the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Xavier University Social Work Advisory Committee, Ohio Youth Services Network, Samaritan Counseling Center, National Association of Fund Raising Professionals and American Cancer Society.