MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University’s First Lady Phyllis Wong and members of Wildcat intercollegiate athletic teams have partnered with Marquette County Habitat for Humanity and Big Brothers/Big Sisters for a gingerbread house silent auction. All proceeds will support Habitat’s mission of providing homes to families in need. Ten gingerbread houses were constructed and decorated by teams made up of NMU student-athletes and community children. “This event helps raise awareness of our organization,” said Jane Iery, volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity. “Since 1992, Marquette County Habitat for Humanity has built or rehabbed 76 homes in Marquette County. Currently we have four homes under construction for the 2010-11 building season. We are also seeking qualified families to apply for the 2012 season.” Wong began the gingerbread house decorating event last year with NMU students as a way of sharing one of her family’s holiday traditions. “Creating traditions is an important part of creating family memories,” she said. “Not only will this event create lasting memories for both the community children and NMU athletes, but it also benefits Habitat for Humanity, a cause that Les (NMU President) and I have supported for many years.” The houses will be displayed for silent auction bidding at the following NMU events: Lighting Up the Holidays from 4:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1, at the University Center; the NMU hockey game at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 3; and at the NMU men’s and women’s basketball games and hockey game on Saturday, Dec. 4, all at the Berry Events Center. Bids can also be submitted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org . The winners will be announced following the game and houses will be delivered the following week. Jane Iery said, “It's events such as this one that lets our younger volunteers contribute in a real way. Even though they can't work on construction or volunteer at the ReStore, they have helped families work towards the goal of homeownership. What an awesome accomplishment.” To view photos of the houses or more information, go to www.nmu.edu/gingerbread or www.mqthabitat.org .