SELAH — When Karen Rex wrote on Facebook Monday how a charity worker rejected her plea for a present to give her great-grandson for his first Christmas, she was just frustrated.
“I was really depressed, and I let my feelings out on the website,” Rex said.
By Tuesday, in a scene almost ripped out of the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” many Selah residents stepped forward not just with toys for 9-month-old Kristoph Rex, but with baby clothes, diapers and several meals for the family.
“That’s the beauty of Selah,” said Councilman Russ Carlson, one of the people who responded to Rex’s plea. “This is why people live in Selah.”
“I would never have guessed it would have come out like this,” Rex said of the response, and the presents and food that was brought over.
Rex and her husband, Mike, have custody of their great-grandson. Mike Rex, a paraeducator at Selah High School, just went back to work after a full knee replacement, and won’t be getting a full paycheck until January. She has her own health challenges, including high-blood pressure and COPD.
As a result, the family’s finances have taken a hit. Recent meals, she said, have been peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which is what they are able to afford on her disability and the assistance they receive for Kristoph.
But she wanted to make sure that Kristoph had at least something for his first Christmas.
“Every child should have a present under the tree,” Rex said.
But, when she contacted someone with a charity that provides toys for children, she said the man on the phone told her that Kristoph was too little, and wouldn’t even remember his first Christmas.
That’s when she went to Facebook, pouring out her heart in the Selah Neighbors group.
“(It) hurt so bad,” Rex wrote. “We have donated to them when we had a little more than we have now.” She said not only would Kristoph not have a present but also the family would not have a Christmas dinner.
She also apologized if her request for help was inappropriate.
But people who read the post did more than just click on the Like button. One of those was Halen Dillinger, who started rallying real-world support for the family.
“A couple of us saw the post on Facebook, and it just took off,” Dillinger said. Comments on the post asked what was needed, and a drive was quickly organized.
Carlson and others put together meals to take over for the family, including a full Christmas dinner. There also were toys and some necessities for the family.
One man even gave them $100 in gift cards.
The gifts came to the Rex’s home throughout the day Tuesday, with Carlson and Dillinger making a delivery Tuesday night.
Rex was grateful for the help.
“I don’t think there is another place like Selah,” Rex said.