The Forest Landing community near Ocean View has re-directed its pre-COVID social energy away from neighborhood happenings and toward charitable endeavors. The latest of these, a month-long fundraiser dubbed “Forest Landing Has Heart,” wrapped up on Valentine’s Day weekend.

Over the course of just a few weeks, Forest Landing residents opened their hearts and wallets to raise more than $5,000 for a local food pantry. According to one pantry volunteer, the charitable outreach program has experienced a three-fold increase in the number of people served.

“That comment alone casts a spotlight on the devastating effects of the pandemic on our local economy and families,” Forest Landing representatives said. “The recent Valentine’s Day fundraiser is a prime example of Forest Landing’s support for a variety of worthy causes.’

Since the start of the pandemic, the community has also raised funds for the new Beebe Healthcare emergency department and cancer treatment center in Millville, collected school supplies for teachers and students at the Showell Elementary School in Selbyville, and donated to Toys for Tots during the neighborhood’s Dec. 12 “Light Up the Landing” holiday event.

During the December event, they said, “Thanks to Mother Nature’s cooperation, Forest Landing’s streets were aglow with candle-lit luminarias, and the air was filled with the strains of old holiday favorites provided by resident jazz ensemble, Club Soda.”

Charitable proceeds from the December event were earmarked by Toys for Tots for needy children in coastal Sussex County.