HOUSTON, March 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In alignment with National Reading Month, CITGO Petroleum Corporation has continued its decade-long partnership with the mobile literacy outreach program, Bess the Book Bus, for its 2019 nationwide tour. Since 2009, CITGO has worked alongside Bess the Book Bus to provide children in underserved communities with access to new books in an effort to narrow the achievement gap. With support from CITGO and other corporate sponsors, the bus has visited 48 states and donated more than 750,000 books.

"Bess the Book Bus is one of our favorite initiatives," said Larry Elizondo, CITGO general manager community relations, CSR and legislative affairs. "We've been partners for more than 10 years now, but seeing the look on children's faces as they explore the bus and leave with an armful of books will never get old. Sparking a love of reading is one of the most important ways to foster a spirit of education amongst our youth, which is a core pillar of the CITGO corporate social responsibility program."

Bess the Book Bus will be making several stops in Louisiana and Texas in early 2019. The bus began its tour at Hunter Head Start Wonderland of Play in Lake Charles on Feb. 28, before moving on to Vincent Settlement Elementary School in Sulphur, La. On March 1, the bus stopped at E.K. Key Elementary and Maplewood Elementary in Sulphur. Bess continued to multiple locations in Houston, Texas in March, stopping at Rees Elementary School and Petrosky Elementary School on March 6. On March 7, the bus visited Burrus Elementary School and Kennedy Elementary School. Both are in the Houston Independent School District and the Independence Heights community where CITGO is focusing its post-Harvey work, and on March 8, the bus visited Bear Boulevard School and Lion Lane School.

Based in Tampa, Fla., Bess the Book Bus was founded in 2002 to help build home libraries and increase book ownership among underserved children across the country. The program has grown to become one of the nation's most innovative and well-respected literacy initiatives, making trips each year with the help of a network of volunteers.

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.

About CITGO 
Headquartered in Houston, Texas, CITGO Petroleum Corporation is a recognized leader in the refining industry with a well-known brand. CITGO operates three refineries located in Corpus Christi, Texas; Lake Charles, La.; and Lemont, Ill., and wholly and/or jointly owns 48 terminals, nine pipelines and three lubricants blending and packaging plants. With approximately 3,400 employees and a combined crude capacity of approximately 749,000 barrels-per-day (bpd), CITGO is ranked as the fifth-largest, and one of the most complex independent refiners in the United States. CITGO transports and markets transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products and supplies a network of approximately 5,000 locally owned and operated branded retail outlets in 30 states and the District of Columbia. CITGO Petroleum Corporation is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc. For more information, visit www.CITGO.com.