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The Providence NEW Hunger Coalition works to collaboratively address and problem solve hunger in Northeastern Washington and the areas supported by Providence Health Care Stevens County (PHCSC).


The Hunger Coalition was originally convened by Bob Campbell, Chief Executive of Providence Health Care Stevens County (PHCSC) and Michele Sakurai, Manager of Pastoral Care and Mission (PHCSC) in Colville Washington. They were concerned by the many health related issues of hunger showing up dramatically in the medical system and wanted to do something to address hunger.  The first meeting of the Hunger Coalition was in September 2011. Members have been meeting monthly since then at Mt. Carmel Hospital in Colville WA.


Today we are working to stabilize emergency food distribution while simultaneously working to address the root causes of hunger at a more sustainable and deeper level.  Some of the issues being addressed:

  • unhealthy eating habits
  • little access to healthy produce and fruit
  • lack of physical activity
  • lack of gardening, cooking and food preservation skills
  • increased risk to pre and post natal mothers
  • infant mortality & failure to thrive
  • how to budget or shop for healthy food
  • Advertisements in media  for unhealthy food
  • elderly health issues: arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes
  • obesity leading to diabetes, heart disease, stroke &  asthma
  • availability of unhealthy food in our schools and communities

Board Members

Dr. Michele Le Doux Sakurai, Board Chair Michele (2)

Michele manages Mission/Community Benefit/Pastoral Care/Ethics for Providence Health Care Stevens County.  She holds a Doctorate of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, a/n M.A. in Theology from University of Portland, a M.Ed. in Adult Education from Oregon State University, was a post-graduate fellow (with an emphasis in Mission) for Trinity Health Care, is CAP (Change Acceleration Process) trained, received LEAN training as part of her “Foundations of Leadership” training with Trinity, and has been nationally certified as a chaplain for over 20 years.  As the chair, she has developed the agendas, followed through on the requests of the members (i.e. find a grant writer, manage PHC grants, etc.) She is also the Board liaison to the general members and co-facilitates the monthly member meetings.

Sara Nelson, Vice-chair

Sara has served the past 18 years the Loon Lake Food Pantry and Resource Center and is their Director.  They serve 300 families a week in rural Stevens County. The Resource Center provides: help with registration for Medicare and food stamps, choosing an insurance provider, signing up for utilities (water, phone, sewer, and power), access site for getting flu shots and immunizations, access and advocacy for other government and community services.  The Loon Lake Food Pantry and Resource center has served as fiscal agent for a Providence Hunger Coalition awarded by Inland Northwest Community Foundation.

Lloyd Ward, Board Treasurer

Lloyd Ward retired to Colville, Washington in 1993 from a military career. Since then he has served as a school counselor, director of The Center – A Place for Youth in Colville and established and directed a federally funded runaway and homeless youth program, YOUTH.COM, for 9 years. He continues to be active in programs to help the needy in the area, including the Providence Hunger Coalition as treasurer, Member Advisory Council for Spokane 2nd Harvest Food Bank, and as an officer with the North Stevens County Ministerial Association. Since 2004 he has managed Pinecrest Manor, an apartment complex for elderly and disabled in Deer Park, WA. Lloyd is the Executive Director of Bethel Christian Life Center which runs five youth centers in Colville, Addy, Deer Park, Kettle Falls and Northport.  The Bethel Christian Life Center is serving as fiscal agent for a grant submitted to Empire Health Foundation.

Pam Borders, Board Secretary

Pam is an employee of Providence Mount Carmel Hospital managing all of the hospital’s outside vendor contracts and is assistant to program staff.  She has a background with food access; she developed the first Wednesday Farmer’s Market in Colville, Washington.  Pam manages the minutes of the Hunger Coalition meeting as well as creates flyers and communications for Hunger Coalition initiatives.

Robert Campbell, Board Director

Robert is the Chief Executive for Providence Health Care Stevens County.  He has worked in health care administration for over 30 years and the collaboration of the Hunger Coalition was his vision.  He was troubled by poverty related hunger showing up as health issues in the health care systems and founded the Providence N.E.W. Hunger Coalition along with Michele Sakurai in September, 2011.

Debra Hansen, Board Director

As the WSU Stevens County Extension director Debra’s primary program responsibility is Community and Economic Development. Since 2006, she has been overseeing education programming designed to meet needs identified by constituents, and helps them create sustainable, vital communities. Her local economic development activities include partnering with Tri County Economic Development to implement the USDA-RD Strengthening Economies Together program, Rural Microenterprise Assistance Program and managing a county-wide Local Technology Planning Team for Broadband access, awareness, and adoption.

Economic development classes and workshops are consistently offered by WSU Stevens County Extension to local small farmers. As a member of the Community Agriculture Development Center Deba has produced the Farm to Table Buying Guide since 2003. She also serves on the statewide Women in Agriculture conference planning committee and Rural 2013 Conference. She has 18 years of prior experience in graphic design, communications, public relations, and marketing.

Cliff Nelson Board Member and the Registered Agent

Cliff serves as is the President of the Loon Lake Food Pantry and Resource Center.  He also sits on the Board of Directors for the Springdale Medical Clinic.

Greg Knight, Board Director

Greg is the Executive Director of Rural Resources Community Action (RRCA). RRCA is a private, non-profit multi-service Community Action Agency that provides a wide range of programs to residents of four rural Eastern Washington Counties (Pend Oreille, Ferry, Lincoln & Stevens), with additional senior services and workforce development assistance to counties in Southwest Washington.  Greg is a Colville native and a third generation farmer growing vegetables as well as forage crops for beef and dairy cattle.  Following a two and a half year stint as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa, Greg worked in private industry in Washington and California before starting at RRCA in 2008.  Greg also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Providence North East Washington Hunger Coalition.

Bob Esvelt, Board Director and Chair of Fundraising Committee

Bob was raised near Daisy, Washington on a diary farm and has returned and has lived in the Rice-Daisy area since 1980 after 9 years in higher education. He has a B.S. degree in Zoology in 1975 from Washington State University and earned a PhD in Biochemistry in December 1979 after researching Vitamin D metabolism and physiological function. In recent years, Bob has been active in several community organizations.  Bob has served as President of the Board of Directors for the Kettle Falls Food Bank for the past 3 years. He has been active in the Democratic Party for over 20 years serving as Stevens County Chair, State Committeeman and 5th congressional district representative to the Washington State Democratic Committee Executive Board.  Bob has also been a farmer for the past 30 years and has many connections and partnerships with local farmers.

Key staff and volunteers

Gael Treesiwin, Program Initiatives Director

Gael is a seasoned instructional designer, trainer and change management consultant with over 27 years of helping organizations create frameworks for transformation and sustainability supported by customized learning systems. Sixty percent of her consulting work included capacity building for nonprofit organizations. Prior to starting her own consulting business, Creative Learning Services 14 years ago, Gael served as Vice President and Chief Instructional Designer and Trainer for a mid-size change management firm based in Seattle. Gael also served as Executive Director of a nonprofit organization working with social service agencies, nonprofits, and families in crisis in the Tri-County area of Eastern Washington. Gael has provided training and coaching in business communication for 3 years for the University of Washington Technology Management Masters in Business Administration (UW-TMMBA).

In December 2010, Gael moved back to North Eastern Washington and served as an AmeriCorps-VISTA volunteer working as a Fund and Grant Development Coach for WSU Stevens County Extension designing and delivering the Effective Fundrai$ing Workshops in Dec 2010 – November 1011. In August 2012, Gael again became an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer doing community and economic development work with WSU Stevens County Extension Office. She also has provided One Page Business Planning for TriCounty Economic Development for small businesses and nonprofit organizations in the TriCounty area.  She is currently part time contractor and key volunteer for the Providence N.E.W. Hunger Coalition providing infrastructure development, sustainable fund development, facilitation of a written 3-year Strategic Action Plan and co-facilitation of Hunger Coalition monthly member meetings.

Matt Morse, AmeriCorps VISTA member/Gleaning Coordinator for the Providence North East Washington Hunger Coalition Harvest Against Hunger Project

Matt Morse began his year of AmeriCorps VISTA service with the Providence N.E.W. Hunger Coalition on April 27th 2015 and will continue until April 26th 2016. The goal for his project will be to improve the wellbeing of food insecure families and individuals in Stevens County through the further development and integration of a sustainable system to glean, harvest, and distribute fresh produce for those in need. His site supervisor is Debra Hansen, Director of WSU Stevens County Extension.

Matt joins the Hunger Coalition as part of a partnership with Rotary First Harvest, a nonprofit organization sponsored by Rotary District 5030 (greater Seattle area). This will be his second term with AmeriCorps VISTA after serving as the development coordinator for an environmental education non-profit in Alaska during 2013-2014. He also brings extensive experience in small-scale and sustainable agriculture from his years growing up on an organic farm in central Illinois. Matt graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in History in 2012.

Matt is currently working to review, refine, and expand upon the gleaning projects and local produce purchasing programs begun in the first year of the Providence N.E.W. Hunger Coalition Harvest against Hunger Project.