Insiders: Lee Danahay

Every now and again you meet someone doing something so extraordinary you can’t help but want to become involved with them. 

That's what happened when I met Lee Danahay

We met several months back at a work event and immediately hit it off. She told me about her work with Oz Harvest with such passion that to steal her words “it was infectious”. 

Lee is the Director of the Gold Coast Chapter of Oz Harvest. 

If you haven’t heard of Oz Harvest, you’ve probably seen their yellow van buzzing around town. 

OZ Harvest rescues excess food from local grocery stores and businesses and donates it to local charities. 
(Recently I was awarded the opportunity to spend a day helping. It was an eye-opening experience. Read more about that HERE.)

 

 

I wanted to know more about Lee and how she became the Gold Coast’s lady in yellow. So I asked for an interview-

Lee, originally from South Africa came to visit the Gold Coast many moons ago and liked it so much that she stayed. To begin her professional career she registered at Griffith University where she majored in Accounting. 

After several years in the accounting world, first as an auditor and then in property and finance, Lee decided she was ready for a change, but not just any old change Lee was ready to do something meaningful. Unsure what that was, but knowing she wanted to make a difference in the world, in walked fate. 

Christmas 2012, Lee picked up a copy of Money Magazine and stumbled across an article about Ronni Kahn. Ronni is the founder of Oz Harvest, and as Lee read, she immediately knew this was the answer she had been looking for. 

She called the Oz Harvest office in Sydney and learned Ronni herself would be coming to the Gold Coast the following week to give a speech. (When fate works, it works!)

 

Upon meeting Ronni, Lee described her as infectious. Ready to be a part of Oz Harvest, and ready to do whatever it took to make that happen, Lee left the world of finance to make room for her new life with Oz Harvest.

At the time Oz Harvest wasn't on the Gold Coast, but Lee worked tirelessly from her home unpaid for 18months to get the Gold Coast chapter up and running. Although it was a one woman show on the Gold Coast for a while, eventually Lee secured a donated office space at The 4217, had a driver come up from Sydney, organised volunteers, started collecting donations and applying for grants.

 

Happily this labour of love paid off. Oz Harvest Gold Coast is running 7 days a week and with the addition of a second van and a recent national partnership with Woolworths, Lee is happy with the progress, there are no immediate plans for further expansion. 

 

Leaving the security of a 9-5 traditional job is scary. Not only is Lee a success story in her personal life with her own goals, Lee’s success story has gone on to touch the lives of countless people in need here on the Gold Coast. 

Without Lee’s effort, people and families on the Gold Coast would have gone hungry thousands of times over. 

She works long hours, lives and breathes Oz Harvest, and all because she just loves it. To this day, Oz Harvest Gold Coast receives no funding and works only with the money they raise.

 

Lee is a pillar in our community, and a personal inspiration to me. 

It is my hope that more people can have qualities resemblant of Lee. Our world would truly be a better place. 

Thank you to the Gold Coast’s lady in yellow. You make our community happier and stronger each day! 

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By Marleigh Kelly