SULPHUR, La. – March 23, 2017 – This February, mobile literacy program Bess the Book Bus brought the joy of reading to young students throughout Southwest Louisiana, with the help of CITGO Petroleum Corporation. CITGO Lake Charles Refinery employees assisted in the distribution of free books to pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade students, as well as to other young residents of the area, as part of Bess the Book Bus’ nationwide tour this year. 
“2017 marks the sixth consecutive year that CITGO has worked with Bess the Book Bus in Lake Charles,” said Tomeu Vadell, vice president and general manager of the CITGO Lake Charles Refinery. “Throughout the years, Bess the Book Bus has made several stops in Southwest Louisiana, delivering more than 700 books annually to children in Sulphur and Lake Charles. It was wonderful to welcome Bess the Book Bus back to the area this year to continue to make a difference in the lives of our young children.”
Four local schools including Brenda Hunter Head Start Wonderland of Play, E.K. Key Elementary School, Frasch Elementary School and Vincent Settlement Elementary School, all received a special visit from Bess the Book Bus, while an additional open-to-the-public Bess the Book Bus visit to the Sulphur Regional Library allowed even more local children to receive books. These Bess the Book Bus visits to Calcasieu Parish were part of the CITGO commemoration of National Reading Month, which will bring CITGO representatives and Miss America titleholders across the U.S. to more than 50 schools and children’s hospitals to read to children and deliver more than 18,000 books from Bess the Book Bus. Elizabeth Eddy, Miss Red River Cities 2017 Shreveport, La., joined Bess the Book Bus for the Southwest Louisiana visits.
Based in Tampa, Florida, Bess the Book Bus was founded by Jennifer Frances in 2002 to help make book ownership a reality for the country’s underserved children. “For many children, Bess the Book Bus has been responsible for giving them the first book they have ever owned. CITGO support has been key in helping us reach these children and open the world of reading to them,” said Frances. “Since Bess the Book Bus was founded, the program has given away more than 500,000 books in 48 states, and with the help of CITGO, we hope to reach many more children this year.”

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