HOUSTON – Aug. 25, 2015 – Continuing efforts to bring free books and a love of reading to children in underserved communities, CITGO Petroleum Corporation joined mobile literacy program Bess the Book Bus in kicking off the next leg of its 2015 national tour on August 24 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Since January, Bess the Book Bus has distributed more than 29,000 free books to 21,000 children – and is well on the way to reaching its goal of distributing 100,000 books to 25,000 children across more than 30 states this year alone.
Following the first stop in North Carolina, Bess the Book Bus will travel to local schools, libraries, community centers, and CITGO locations in Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Children will climb onboard the Bus to choose their very own new books and participate in read alouds with Bess the Book Bus founder Jennifer Frances. In addition, children will have the opportunity to receive pencils, bookmarks, coloring sheets and drawstring backpacks, courtesy of CITGO. The tour will wrap up in Virginia Beach at the end of September at the 42nd annual Neptune Festival.
Founded in 2002 by Jennifer Frances, whose grandmother Bess O’Keefe fueled a love of reading in her from a young age, Bess the Book Bus aims to bring that same love of reading to children everywhere. Since inception, and with support from sponsors including CITGO, Bess the Book Bus has visited 48 states, reached more than 100,000 children and donated more than 500,000 books.
“Partnering with CITGO has been the perfect fit for the Book Bus’ mission,” said Frances. “From helping to provide the resources needed to drive across the country to engaging local marketers and stations for events, CITGO is there every step of the way to make sure we provide as many kids as possible with brand new books. We made 34 stops in 23 cities during our spring tour, and we’re looking forward to making even more of an impact this fall.”
CITGO believes that through knowledge, communities are better equipped to achieve long-lasting sustainability. Partnering with programs such as Bess the Book Bus fuels CITGO initiatives aimed toward creating a positive change and helping to empower children.
“Our partnership with Bess the Book Bus has given us yet another platform to demonstrate our ‘Fueling Good’ philosophy across the country,” said Alan Flagg, CITGO assistant vice president of supply and marketing. “Along with our network of locally owned stations, we are always striving to contribute to the places in which we work and live. By instilling a love of reading and learning in thousands of children, we hope to encourage them to one day be a part of the progress and growth in their own communities.”
In addition to partnering with Bess the Book Bus, CITGO is building on its commitment to supporting education with its third annual Fueling Education program. Aimed toward providing students with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed in the classroom, CITGO will award more than $100,000 in school supplies to educators across the country. Through October, multiple K – 12 public school teachers will be selected each week to receive $1,000 toward items for their classrooms from CITGO and National School Supply. For more information and to enter, visit www.facebook.com/CITGOFuelingGood.
About Bess the Book Bus
Bess the Book Bus is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization committed to extending literacy across the country. Run by Jennifer Frances of Tampa, Fla., the organization visits local communities across the country in a specially designed "book bus," coordinating reading events and providing children with free, new books for them to keep. For more information, visit www.bessthebookbus.org.
CITGO is committed to giving back to the local communities it serves through its network of locally owned CITGO locations. Local CITGO Marketers are proud to support their neighborhoods and work with programs such as Bess the Book Bus and Fueling Education. For more information on the positive impact of the locally owned CITGO stations, visit www.fuelinggood.com.
CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit www.CITGO.com.