Back to School Bash draws hundreds to the Crossroads Mall

‘It’s awesome to see the community come out to support the kids’

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Nolan Lumsden, 3, of Fort Dodge, already has a backpack ready for when he goes to preschool next year.

Luke Vaughan, 14, and Peyton Hays, 14, both of Fort Dodge, spent their time Thursday night passing out backpacks to area students during the Back to School Bash at Crossroads Mall.

The two are members of 4-H, the clubs responsible for packing and distributing backpacks and supplies to students before the start of school.

Vaughan and Hays were just getting started at about 4:30 p.m., but dozens of families were already lined up.

“How many have you done?” Hays asked Vaughan.

“Two,” Vaughan said.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Nolan Lumsden, 3, of Fort Dodge, tries out the Claire’s unicorn cutout during the annual Back to School Bash at Crossroads Mall Thursday night.

Then the number grew.

By the end of the night as many as 800 backpacks could be handed out, Vaughan said.

The pair were happy to volunteer.

“It helps kids who may not be as fortunate,” Hays said. “So they have everything we have.”

Elsewhere in the mall, Kathy Thorson, of Fort Dodge, was with her grandkids, Ashlyn Headlee and Nolan Lumsden.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Brice Tiernan, 6, of Fort Dodge, was happy to try on his new backpack during the annual Back to School Bash at Crossroads Mall Thursday night.

“We are getting them ready,” Thorson said.

Lumsden, 3, won’t go to preschool until next year, but he’s already got a backpack.

Headlee will be an eighth-grader at St. Edmond Catholic School.

“She’s in a lot of sports,” her uncle, Bob Crouse, said.

Thorson said she appreciates the efforts of volunteers to make the Back to School Bash happen.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Luke Vaughan, 14, of Fort Dodge, retrieves a backpack during the annual Back to School Bash at Crossroads Mall Thursday night.

“This is overwhelming,” she said. “The support Fort Dodge gives these kids for school is great.”

The Bash is also a chance for friends to reconnect.

“They see some of their friends that they haven’t seen all summer,” Thorson said.

Padraic Newton, 5, was picking out some brand new pencils.

“He’s getting ready for kindergarten,” his mother, Melissa Eckheart, said. “He’s excited, for sure.”

Eckheart is new to the area.

“We just moved to town, so it’s a whole new change,” she said.

Melissa Verschoor, general manager of the Crossroads Mall, was pleased with the turnout.

“It’s been amazing,” she said. “The families are having a great time. It’s awesome to see the community come out to support the kids.”

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