HOUSTON, May 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- CITGO Petroleum Corporation marked its 10-year partnership with the mobile literacy outreach program, Bess the Book Bus, with an all-morning reading event at Burrus Elementary School in Houston on May 17, 2018. Since 2008, CITGO has worked alongside Bess the Book Bus to close the education gap among the nation's most vulnerable youth by providing access to brand new books. 

"Education will always be one of the most prominent ways CITGO invests in the prosperity of our communities," said Larry Elizondo, CITGO General Manager, Community Relations & Corporate Social Responsibility. "Providing access to books is one of the most effective ways of breaking down barriers to education and ensuring every child gets to experience the love of reading."

CITGO and Bess the Book Bus founder Jennifer Frances hosted a story time for kindergarten-second grade students at Burrus Elementary School from 9:00 to 11:00 am. After story time, students visited the mobile bus and picked out a new book to take home.

"No child should have to grow up without the opportunity to experience the magic of books," said Frances. "With the dedicated support of CITGO, Bess the Book Bus has touched communities across the nation by bringing books to children who otherwise might not get to enjoy this pillar of childhood."

Founded in 2002, Bess the Book Bus travels the country to provide new books to thousands of children in underserved areas ever year. Beginning as a local initiative in Tampa, Florida, Bess the Book Bus has grown to be nationwide with help from sponsors like CITGO. The program has now visited 48 states, reaching more than 100,000 children in underserved communities. The organization is on track to donate 700,000 books by the end of this year.

To learn more about how CITGO is fueling education in communities across the country and to download free STEM education resources, visit www.fuelingeducation.com

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, 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.