Gravel for the Love of It

Fundraiser for student lunch debt relief raised by local cyclist group


Sydney Davis

Wendy Davis and Dr. Kiesel pose with an envelope containing $400 to go towards the WSD’s newest program, ‘Care to Learn.’

Sydney Davis, Editor-in-Chief

Cyclist Wendy Davis hosts an annual bike ride every winter to raise money for students who cannot afford to pay for lunch.

Davis loves riding bikes and she’s also a cycling coach. She “wanted to do something for the community that would have a large impact, mostly on children.” 

Davis spoke more about the origin of the fundraiser.

“I started this [fundraiser] because I had received $75 at a [cycling] race and I didn’t know what to do with it. I decided I would pay off a child’s lunch account, and that is when I found out that my $75 was not going to go very far,” Davis said. “Then I thought, why not have an event that’s dedicated to paying off lunch accounts.”

The very first “Gravel for the Love of It” ride hosted on Jan. 28, 2017. This is the event’s current largest turnout with 31 total riders. (submitted by Wendy Davis)

After she decided that a group ride should commence annually, the event earned the name “Gravel for the Love of It” in 2017.

Davis works closely with her husband, Jim, with the event. “He [helped] design the course and he was my volunteer for a couple of years just to make sure that everyone made it through the route safely.” 

Gravel for the Love of It started off funding student lunches at Crossroads Elementary, as her daughter attended there. But as her daughter moved on to middle and then high school, the funds were then divided equally between the attended school and Crossroads.

Damien Fay, who is the principal of Crossroads, said, “The funds go to support students who need support with lunch, field trip costs, or even shirts for DARE or our House system.”

The most recent “Gravel for the Love of It” ride was 20 miles long, on Dec. 10, 2022.

In Davis’s Facebook post to grab the attention of those who should participate, she said, “YOU will be helping [the Wentzville School District] get their ‘Care to Learn‘ chapter off the ground for the 2023-24 school year… We have a huge opportunity to change some lives.”

Care to Learn is the Wentzville School District’s new program that caters towards those who are experiencing tough times and are having trouble paying for lunch, field trips, class projects, etc. 

The Wentzville School District added on stating that, “Care to Learn focuses on meeting the emergent needs students in the areas of health, hunger, and hygiene. The vision of care to learn is that all students will have the confidence, self-worth, and resources to maximize their learning potential and become self-sufficient citizens.”

“Crossroads is always willing to accept donations to our Love Fund,” Fay said when asked about how other could assist the cause. “People can also join in the Gravel for the Love of It ride next year.”

Wendy Davis (middle) poses with a $400 check in the company of the counselors and principals of Crossroads Elementary. (via Crossroads Elementary Twitter )

Since the event is based around a bike ride, next year, Fay said he would like to challenge each local bike shop to back the ride and to share it on their social media platforms. “I believe our local biking community would enjoy the ride and also help others,” Fay said.

“I hope to continue this fundraiser in the future because I don’t think the need [for school lunch debt relief] is going to disappear, if anything the need will be even greater and if I can get a group of cyclists together and raise some money, it may inspire someone else to do something similar,” Davis said.

“It brings me joy knowing we are working together as a team to support kids who have a need. I’m proud we are able to do so,” Fay said.

In January of 2017, Davis raised $1,900.

In January of 2018, she raised $1,500.

In December of 2019, Davis collected $500. 

In December of 2022, she raised $800.

In total, $4,700 has been raised.