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HOUSTON -- As the holiday season approaches, CITGO gas stations and convenience stores are giving customers in select markets the chance to reconnect with friends an family all around the world, by offering $3 phone cards with the purchase of 10 gallons of fuel.
Markets participating in the program include the New York metro area, and Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee, Wis. The program will run from Nov. 15, to Dec. 31. The phone cards are supported by telecommunications firm Poplar Telecom Group.
"With the hectic lives that people live these days, it can be so easy to lose touch with the people that matter the most," Dick Spiegel, president of CITGO marketer SOS Fuels, said in a statement. "By providing phone cards to motorists across the New York metro area, CITGO Petroleum and its network of locally owned CITGO stations are helping to bring families and friends closer together, no matter how many miles separate them."
CITGO began working with the phone card provider, Poplar, in San Antonio, Miami and Tampa, Fla., in May 2008. CITGO expanded the reach and give away after receiving positive feedback from marketers, retailers and consumers in Florida, the company stated.
Through this year's program, participating retailers will give away nearly two million phone cards. Retailers who participate receive phone cards and in-store signage at no cost, while also benefiting from increased fuel sales, increased c-store traffic and new customers, according to the company. More than 75 percent of CITGO retailers participating in the program in Miami and Tampa attributed the phone cards for directly increasing fuel sales and encouraging consumers to visit the convenience store and make additional purchases, the company stated.
"CITGO and its network of nearly 7,000 locally owned retail locations across the country are dedicated to building communities and supporting the most important relationships -- families and loved ones. Providing these phone cards is another way to give back to those that support our brand each and every day," added Speigel.
Eddy Gorrin, operations manager with Poplar Telecom Group, said: "Poplar Telecom Group's partnership with CITGO has been a fantastic opportunity to provide more support to the network of local CITGO marketers and retailers. Our products not only help build relationships across the local communities, they also help drive convenience store traffic and sales of all products, including gas, groceries, lotto and, of course, phone cards."
The CITGO phone card program is developed in alignment with the principles of competitiveness of its shareholder, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
In other CITGO news, the company awarded The Night Ministry of Chicago a grand prize in the Fueling Good program, to recognize its contributions to Chicago's homeless and vulnerable populations through its Health Outreach Bus.
The Night Ministry received a $2,500 fuel donation, which was presented by Representative Greg Harris of the Illinois House of Representatives and Barry Trilla of local fuel supplier World Fuels, according to the company.
Launched in June 2009, Fueling Good is designed to recognize and reward the efforts of people across the country who go above and beyond to provide a positive impact on the lives of others. The program is also based on the principals of solidarity and social development held by CITGO and its shareholder, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Through the program, an online contest invites local heroes to submit their stories of doing good in their communities, and from July through December, five finalists will be selected for a monthly online vote that will help decide the winner of a year's supply of fuel from CITGO.
The Night Ministry's Health Outreach Bus provides medical exams and treatment, rapid HIV testing, counseling and guidance from trained volunteers, along with a hot meal and shelter from the tough Chicago weather.
"It's such an honor to be involved in Fueling Good to give back to The Night Ministry and its volunteers for their hard work and dedication to needy people across our community," Barry Trilla, senior vice president with the Texor Division of World Fuels Services, a Chicago distributor of CITGO fuels, said in a statement. "The services they provide through the Health Outreach Bus, as well as the guidance and counseling programs for teens, have a tremendous impact on our community and provide hope to those that need it most."
In addition to the Health Outreach Bus, the organization provides support and guidance to at-risk teens and young adults, including crisis intervention, counseling and referrals to shelters and rehab programs. The Night Ministry also provides shelter to homeless youth, according to the company.
"Our staff and volunteers are on the front lines supporting the most vulnerable people in Chicago each night," Paul W. Hamann, president of The Night Ministry, said in a statement. "Most of the people we reach are isolated from society and lack access to simple health care and screening that most of us take for granted. Through the Health Outreach Bus, we are able to provide vital care, such as rapid HIV testing and diabetes monitoring, and also a place for people to talk and receive guidance and support to help get them back on their feet. Simply reaching out a friendly hand, providing a listening, caring ear, and asking how we can help makes a world of change to individuals who are often ignored and under-served."
The Night Ministry began in 1976 and is currently made up of more than 400 volunteers. This year alone, the organization has helped more than 5,750 people.
"The fuel provided by CITGO will mean that we can focus more resources into our services and not have to worry about fueling the Health Outreach Bus," added Hamann. "It will have a tremendous impact on the lives of homeless and underprivileged individuals across Chicago and we are extremely grateful for the support of CITGO."
And in other CITGO news, the company's Corpus Christi refinery was recently honored with two 2009 Save Energy Now Awards from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE's Industrial Technologies Program oversees the Save Energy Now program, and announced the winners at the World Energy Engineering Congress in Washington, D.C.
The CITGO Corpus Christi East Plant was awarded the Energy Champion Award, the highest award given in the DOE Save Energy Now program, for achieving energy savings equal to 15 percent of total plant energy consumption, according to the company.
CITGO was also named one of 47 "Energy Champions" for 2009, in recognition of its hard work at reducing overall energy use. In addition, the Energy Saver Award was also presented to CITGO's Corpus Christi West Plant for achieving energy savings of 7.5 percent of total plant energy consumption.
The CITGO Corpus Christi refinery as a whole received an energy assessment score of 88 percent, higher than the industry average of 75 percent, according to the company.
"CITGO is very proud of the DOE's recognition of our continued commitment to conservation of natural resources through our energy programs," Kevin Ferrall, general manager and vice president of CITGO Corpus Christi Refinery, said in a statement.
Save Energy Now is a national initiative by the DOE's Industrial Technologies Program with the goal of reducing industrial energy intensity by 25 percent over the next 10 years, according to the company.
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