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Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013 12:01 am

PIZZA PARTY

 Vinod “Vinnie” Gupta of Springfield is turning 75 this year, but instead of throwing himself a party, he’s throwing a party for someone else. Gupta has volunteered for about 10 years with Helping Hands and the Springfield Overflow Shelter, two of the homeless shelters in Springfield, so for his birthday he’s throwing a pizza party for Springfield’s homeless folks. Being a humble guy, he originally didn’t want publicity, but he changed his mind in hopes that more homeless people would find out about the party. “Everybody can fall through the cracks; it can happen to anyone,” he said. “I have benefited because other people helped me, so I owe it to them to help others.” Gupta came to the U.S. in January 1965 from near Delhi, India. When he retired from his job as a civil engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation, Gupta began reading the collected works of Mahatma Gandhi and became inspired to help make a change in his own world. “Somebody said that if you give me a lever long enough, I can lift the whole world,” Gupta said. “I say that if you give me love enough, I can lift the whole world. Love is the strongest force. … The most important thing is to grow and become a better person.” The party is 5 p.m. on Oct. 28 at Kumler United Methodist Church, 600 N. Fifth St.

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