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Home » Uncategorized » Beth Cox named 2018 Community Star

Beth Cox named 2018 Community Star

Beth Cox

Thursday, November 15, 2018; Silver City, NM: Hidalgo County’s very own, Beth Cox has been honored as a Community Star by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH). As part of National Rural Heath Day observance on November 15, 2018, NOSORH recognizes frontline rural health workers making a positive impact on rural lives as a “Community Star”.

During her tenure as a health teacher, Beth Cox found herself in an unusual position when the employee who ran the school’s cafeteria walked off the job. The superintendent, needing to find a quick replacement, asked (perhaps in jest) if there was anyone on staff who could turn on the ovens. Of course, there were many, but as Beth describes it, “We drew straws to see who the new cafeteria manager would be, and I lost, or maybe I won!”

In her transition from teacher to cafeteria manager, Cox’s eyes quickly opened to a world she wasn’t expecting. “I always thought that our people take care of their own,” she shares. “I was so wrong when I saw how many kids came to school Monday morning hungry.” From that point on, Cox was on a mission to get children excited about nutritionally-sound eating and physical activity, which has led her to do amazing work that is making a profoundly positive impact on the lives of hundreds of people living in the deep southwest along the borders of Arizona and Mexico. Today, Cox works for the Southwest Center for Health Innovation as the Coordinator of Healthy Kids Healthy Communities in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, a position she has held for the past five years.

Among many of her responsibilities, Cox oversees five food distribution sites throughout the county, where families receive thirty pounds of fresh, high-quality produce each month, as well as healthy recipes, food preparation tips and encouragement. She also teaches gardening classes that inspire families to grow their food and coordinates the local farmer’s market and a community garden.

According to Kendra Milligan, Cox’s colleague and Community Star nominator, “She is one of those people who exemplify small-town life, doing everything she can for her community members from taking food to disabled seniors to making sure her neighbors on the border are doing okay.”

Cox’s work on behalf of the community she cares deeply for, and the place where she continues working her family’s ranch, is an extraordinary example of the real Power of Rural.

For more information on the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities in Hidalgo County contact Cox at or the CHI office at (575) 597-0035.