Why Diana and Her Family Dine at Fork & Spoon
We always perk up at Fork & Spoon when Diana* and her family walk through the door. Surrounded by the smiling faces of her children, Diana greets Fork & Spoon staff by name before claiming her favorite four top in the eastern corner of the restaurant by the window.
Diana has given back to her global and local community her entire life. She is the mother of 11 children, 7 of whom are adopted. Her youngest four, a mixture of whom accompany her during her visits to Fork & Spoon, she adopted from Haiti within the past decade. Three arrived in the U.S. before the country’s devastating 2010 earthquake, and the youngest arrived just after. Diana is also a substitute teacher in the Bozeman School District, where she enjoys teaching elementary and high school aged kids.
This part of Diana’s story begins when her husband was killed by a drunk driver in 1984 while they were living in California. They have three biological children together, but in contrast to her husband, Diana had always wanted to adopt and foster more kids. After a difficult two years recovering from his death, Diana began to think about how to move forward into the next phase of her life – and decided to start fostering children. She trained as a therapeutic foster care home and became certified to care for children recovering from severe trauma. Caring for these children, says Diana, takes a “special kind of parenting.” She adopted two of her foster kids before moving her growing family to Montana, where she decided to adopt three more children from an orphanage in Haiti. She recalls with fondness the first time they met, a delightfully colorful scene at the local Bozeman airport with three children, six suitcases, one widow, and no English. Her youngest arrived a few years later after surviving the earthquake that wreaked havoc on her home country.
Around this time, in addition to navigating her expanding her family, Diana suffered a catastrophic financial emergency, leaving her without savings and in immense debt. “Due to the situation,” remembers Diana, “I didn’t have enough money to get through the month. After I heard about Fork & Spoon, I felt saved. I knew my kids would be able to eat. Fork & Spoon was a lifesaver.”
Since their first time visiting, Diana and her family have grown to love Fork & Spoon – and the feeling is mutual. She loves how personable and friendly the space is. She loves how individual staff members and volunteers “put themselves out there to get know us, over and above a superficial level,” greeting her and her family by name when they walk in for dinner, asking about their day and how they enjoyed their meal.
Diana speaks candidly about her gratitude for Fork & Spoon and how much it’s helped her family. Like some of our other customers, she never expected to be in a place where she would have to rely on the service so heavily. “I am college educated and was working on a doctorate, until the needs of my foster kids meant I had to drop out. I never would have guessed I would be in this situation. Yet, Fork & Spoon helped me right where I was. They were very friendly, warm, and open. They meet everyone who walks in the door right where they are.”
Many families like Diana’s join us nightly for dinner. They choose Fork & Spoon because of the delicious food, the welcoming atmosphere, the social mission, or because they need an affordable meal to get them through a rough patch. At Fork & Spoon, patrons are presented with a suggested cost, but they ultimately decide how much they will contribute. This model allows families like Diana’s to provide a healthy and delicious meal to their children, regardless of their ability to pay.
Fork & Spoon also relies on the generous contributions of patrons who are able to pay for their meal, and maybe pay a little extra, to help us continue to offer a meal to Diana’s family. Fork & Spoon, says Diana, “is a unique concept doing a lot of good in a nonjudgmental manner, supporting and giving delicious food to a variety of people. Fork & Spoon demonstrates the true generosity and compassion of Bozeman.” We couldn’t agree more.
*names have been changed for anonymity