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Teens Doing Great Things

Sammamish teen donates 1,000 books to food bank

Barber Enos Guss shared his love of books with the public when he opened the city’s first library in a corner of his shop on Front Street North in 1906.

Nathaniel Turtel, a seventh-grader at Beaver Lake Middle School, donated 1,000 books to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank. Photo by Laura Geggel


More than 100 years later, Sammamish 13-year-old Nathaniel Turtel resolved that he, too, would share his interest in books with others.
It took him four months, but Nathaniel amassed 1,000 books with the help of his family and donated them all in a grand pile to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank in early December.
“I went to garage sales and sometimes we asked people for donations,” Nathaniel said. “Sometimes, people gave us money to buy books.”
To bolster the collection, Nathaniel and his father, Scott Turtel, journeyed to Once Sold Tales, in Kent, where they bought books for a dollar a pound.
“We picked out the light ones,” Nathaniel said.
He donated about 100 of his own books, and his 10-year-old brother Matthew Turtel added a few to the pile.
Nathaniel tried to buy as many picture books as he could, but he also purchased chapter books, “just any kind of kid book,” he said.
Nathaniel reads in his spare time, especially historical fiction about the Hellenistic age of Egypt, shortly after Alexander the Great’s army invaded the empire. Nathaniel said he wanted to share the pastime of reading with people using the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.
The bank welcomes any type of donation, particularly books, volunteer coordinator Teresa Sandoval said.
“If we could get more books, that would be awesome, because we have so many little kids who come in and read them,” she said.
The majority of Nathaniel’s donations disappeared in a week. Some food bank patrons treat the bookshelves like a library, and return the books for new ones every week, Sandoval said.
Nathaniel had so much success with his first drive that he said he plans to do another one next year.
“I’m proud of Nate,” Scott said. “He did a great job. It shows what one person can do when you put your mind to something.”
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