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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Four boxes of graham crackers, three bags of M&M’s and a container of frosting was all it took to build the Great Wall of China.

Luckily, there was still some left over for the Reitz Union and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Members of the UF chapter of Habitat for Humanity held their third annual Candy House Building Competition Thursday afternoon on the Reitz Union North Lawn.

More than 40 people voted for their favorite of five gingerbread houses decorated with M&M’s, Mike and Ikes, Life Savers and candy canes. Each house was built by a team of two from the UF Habitat for Humanity.

“Last time I built one, I was in first grade, so it brought back some memories,” said Stephany Vento, spring fundraising chairwoman for the club.

The graham cracker replica of the Great Wall of China earned the most votes, with Barbie’s Malibu Dream House coming in second.

The three other candy-covered masterpieces were built to look like Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the Reitz Union and a wrecked train symbolizing the Gator victory in the Southeastern Conference Championship in Atlanta on Saturday.

Ling-Ling Wolff-Koo, the vice president of administration for UF Habitat for Humanity, said the competition was to help draw attention and support for the organization.

“The economy is bad, and one of the first things to go is nonprofits,” she said.

Wolff-Koo said it was something fun for members of the UF chapter to do together.

“We’re not actually building a house this semester, so we decided to build ones out of candy,” she said.

After the votes were tallied, the competitors tore into their houses and began to chow down on their sugary building materials. Vento estimated that the organization raised about $40 in donations from voters and other members of the organization during the event.

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She said the competition not only helped publicize UF Habitat for Humanity, but it also represented its mission toward eliminating poverty.

“We’re just trying to get that concept out there and have some fun in the spirit of Christmas,” Vento said.

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