Tampa Based Non-Profit to Deliver 1 Millionth Book to Children

Aug 23, 2022 | Education, Good Guys, Good News Tampa, Kids, Programs & Events

Bess the Book Busa non-profit mobile literacy program, is kicking off its cross-country outreach tour starting in Tampa, FL! Bess helps kids nationwide by delivering and donating over 50,000 books to over 25,000 children each year. The tour kickoff event will take place at 8:30am in Tampa, FL on August 23rd at Booker T Washington Elementary where the founder will read aloud to over 100 students.

Bess the Book Bus was founded in 2002 by Jennifer Frances. Jennifer states, “Our goal is to spark a love for reading in kids by hosting joyful events that provide books to build home libraries. Access to and choice of engaging books is critical to building lifelong readers and learners.”

Since 2002, the Tampa-based nonprofit has distributed over 999,000 books to children in all 48 contiguous states. They reach the most vulnerable children in communities by partnering with schools, daycare centers, libraries, summer programs and other nonprofits. The mobile nature of the programming allows Bess to meet children, teachers, caregivers, and parents where they are, entering book deserts where access to and choice of quality reading materials is missing.

The bus started traveling in 2009 thanks to CITGO Petroleum Corp. “CITGO has been a fantastic partner over the years, not only providing funds but also helping organize events and Team CITGO volunteers,” states Jennifer.

In addition to supporting Bess the Book Bus, CITGO supports numerous education initiatives, including the STEM Talent Pipeline program, which partners with nonprofits and schools  to increase access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related educational opportunities. The program also provides scholarships and support for 12 CITGO Innovation Academies.

“We’re continually inspired by the scope of what Jennifer and Bess the Book Bus accomplish,” said Michael Rosen, CITGO General Manager Government and Public Affairs. “Were extremely proud of our longstanding partnership and excited to help Bess reach such an impressive milestone.”

Following the kickoff, Bess the Book Bus will make stops in Maine, New Jersey, Maryland, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle. The month-long road trip will culminate on September 27 at Taylor High School in Houston, where Bess the Book Bus will deliver its one millionth book.

To learn more about Bess the Book Bus or to donate visit their website. 

You can also follow along with their progress by visiting their Facebook and Instagram.

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