#atimetosaythankyou was founded in 2018 by Rabbi Albert Chait MBE. He together with his wife Gila and their three children, Arielle, Emily and Olivia, decided on Xmas Day 2018 to visit their local Fire Station, Police Station and the Maternity Ward at the St James’ Hospital to deliver a big hamper of cakes and goodies, good wishes and thanksgiving for the incredible and dedicated service that they provide over the holiday period.
Recognising that sadly in a time where Jewish people in Europe were being more associated with the rise of Anti-Semitism, he and his Community Development Officer (CDO) Naomi Williams realised what an opportunity a project like this could be in re-establishing, or re-aligning in the wider sense, what Jewish people should be known for: kindness; compassion; thanksgiving and welfare.
Taking this model beyond just the “blue light” services, in 2019 Alby engaged the incredible support of the local Jewish Community to assist him in delivering specially made chocolate bouquets to Homeless Shelters, Hospices, Residential Homes, Care Homes, Pharmacies, Women’s Shelters, Children’s Care Services and many others.
We were fortunate to return to where it all began with Monty onto the NeoNatal ward at the LGI.
Today couldn’t have been pulled off without the invaluable work and efforts of Naomi Williams and Albert Sebastian Chait #atimetosaythankyou" - Ali & Andy, Monty & Reuben Daly-Smith, LGI Neonates
On 25th December 2019, 550 people joined Alby & Naomi in visiting over 150 locations across Leeds and Yorkshire giving the message of gratitude to all those working and serving our region on Xmas Day, on what is their day of family, tradition and faith.
Alby recalls: "To have gathered 550 people on Xmas morning in Shul, on a day where most people are simply at home and seeing the morning pass, and feel this sense of community spirit and this passion and pride at performing a random act of kindness, is something I will never forget for the rest of my life."
During the COVID Pandemic years of 2020 & 2021, to keep the spark of #atimetosaythankyou alive, Alby in his capacity as communal leader and NHS Hospital Chaplain, continued to deliver alone to the most key places in what was one of the most challenging times for the NHS, the Emergency Services and all Health Care organisations.
Now, in the post-pandemic year of 2022, the message of gratitude couldn’t be more important and understated.
We simply ask for just an hour of your time on Xmas Day together with loved ones and/or friends.
An honour to be part of an amazing UHC Synagogue initiative - delivering gifts to those wonderful carers across our city working on Xmas Day. Especially delighted to take chocs for the staff and a Nintendo Switch for the kids on the children’s ward at the LGI. Proud to be part of the Leeds Jewish community." - Louise, Simon & Joseph Williams and Sue Graham
We were honoured to be part of a huge project for the Leeds Jewish community delivering gifts to all the staff today in the different public sectors around Yorkshire. Anthony and I sang some different songs to the residents whilst Estie danced and they were all so appreciative." - Charlotte, Anthony & Estie Richard, Ashfield Nursing & Residential Home
Today we took part in the #atimetosaythankyou initiative by UHC Leeds and Albert Sebastian Chait, delivering chocolates and thanking those who are spending their holiday away from their loved ones, in order to protect the public. Together, the Jewish community visited and thanked police men and women, fire fighters, medics and many more, at over 130 locations across the region." - Moshe, Yedidyah & Pliyah Vecht, Morley Fire Station
Representing the Leeds Jewish Community and UHC Leeds in saying thank you to the firemen and fire ladies at Kirkstall Road Fire Station who risk their lives to save others all year round. #atimetosaythankyou Great 3rd day Chanukah activity!" - Paul, Leah & Joshua Mack, Kirkstall Fire Station
This morning was very emotional and incredible. To have 500 people from the Jewish community come together in an initiative organised by the amazing Albert Sebastian Chait & Naomi Williams to say thank you to all the people who work on Christmas Day from ambulance workers, to hospital wards and care homes by delivering chocolates, and even PlayStations to the children’s wards. Feeling very proud to be Jewish and part of something very special x #ATimeToSayThankYou" - Lisa & Jamie, Zack, Aaron & Mason Lee, St James Ambulance
#atimetosaythankyou We got a really warm reception from the manager and staff at Oakhaven Care Home with a small token of appreciation for working on Xmas day. Just about managed to keep Zara from eating all the chocs prior to delivery." - Will, Amy, Archie & Zara Maclaren, Oakhaven Care Home