Greg DeLoach is asking his friends and family for gifts, but not for himself.
The former First Baptist Church of Augusta pastor is asking each of his friends, family and his 2,100 Facebook friends to donate $25 to Developmental Disabilities Ministries, of which he is now president and CEO.
“As you get older, you really don’t want things for yourself,” said DeLoach, who turned 50 on Monday. “I thought, what would mean a lot to me is if people gave to a cause I care deeply about.”
DeLoach, who now lives in Norcross, Ga., is trying to raise $50,000. The campaign will likely extend through the summer.
“If each of my friends gave as little as $25, together we could raise over $50,000 that will go directly to serving persons with developmental disabilities,” he wrote in his blog, Pilgrim’s Walk. “I know that for some $25 is too much – then all I ask is make a donation you can afford. For others $25 is not much at all – I ask that you choose to give generously.”
Developmental Disabilities Ministry operates 19 group homes throughout Georgia for adults with developmental disabilities and their families. Two are in Augusta with a third likely opening within the next couple of months, DeLoach said.
It’s a population that became dear to him while serving at First Baptist and ministering to the Jesus’ Special Followers Sunday School class.
“Those are adults that don’t have the usual filters that most people do. If they’re happy, they’re happy, and if they’re not happy, they’re not happy,” he said. “I appreciated that kind of honesty.”
He said often adults with disabilities are overlooked and do not have many advocates. The donations raised through DeLoach’s request will be used to finance a campaign of awareness that will begin this fall.
They will also be used for practical needs such as supplementing medical care, residential care and emotional support.
DeLoach spent the weekend before his birthday with family and friends. He plans to blog daily for 50 days on reflections on life.
“I really want to do something in this part of my life that recognizes their inherent gifts,” he said. “I want to celebrate and invite others to celebrate by drawing attention to people I love working with.”
Donations can be made at ddmga.org or mailed to DDM, 6320 Amherst Court, Norcross, GA 30092.