Frequently Asked Questions for Volunteers

Thank you to the HinghamLink volunteers for keeping our community connected! Listed below are answers to frequently asked questions. Please feel free to contact with any additional questions.

What should a volunteer bring when assisting with food shopping or pharmacy requests?

Please bring an ID (for medication pick up), cash or credit card (to cover purchases until you’re reimbursed), plus wipes and sanitizing lotion. NewCDC guidelines suggest a cloth face mask and gloves are also advisable.

How do we keep ourselves and the elders as safe as possible?

When volunteering to food shop, please arrange a location outside(where an elder can leave a list) or discuss the list over the phone. Remember, because some items are limited, you may want to confirm if substitutions are acceptable. If an EBT card is left to use please wipe it down. Please leave all purchases outside and return the sanitized EBT card to the mailbox.

How do we pay for groceries or medications?

We suggest you bring a personal credit card or cash. Prior to dropping off the items, notify the elder of the total cost, and he or she will repay you by form of cash or check. An EBT card may also be used.

What is an EBT card and how does it work?

An EBT card functions like a gift card. Therefore, the elder must confirm the current balance on the EBT card prior to your visit to the grocery store. Only food products can be purchased on an EBT card, meaning products like toilet paper and paper towels are excluded.

People will likely want to use this card (when they have one) versus other payment.

Please note, if the total purchase exceeds the balance on the EBT card, it will be declined. The cashier will adjust the purchase total to reflect the balance remaining, once the total amount on the EBT card has been used. If this occurs, we ask the volunteer to pay the remainder of the bill.All volunteers will be reimbursed for the payment by the elder they are shopping for. People are not asked for an ID when using an EBT card.

Is there anything I should know when picking up medications?

Yes, please have an ID with you. Ask the elder if medications will include narcotics. If so, the elder needs to tell the pharmacist that a volunteer will pick up the narcotic. By law, an ID is required to pick up narcotics. The elder will need to tell the pharmacy the volunteer’s full name and the ID needs to be shown at pick up.

When should I contact my assigned elder?

We really appreciate and value your time. Please contact the elder you’re connected with as soon as possible. If your time constraints don’t allow contact within 24 hours, please let us know. We understand everyone’s lives are uncertain. Once you make contact please “reply all” so we know you’ve been in touch with the elder.

What if I'm delivering to 30 Thaxter Street (Hingham Housing Authority)?

The Hingham Housing Authority asks residents to call 781-858-4008, after they've spoken to you (the volunteer) to arrange for delivery. If you arrive and a member of the Housing Authority staff is not available to assist, stay in your vehicle and call that number. A staff person will come outside and deliver the food to the resident, so you should not enter the buildings at any time.

How do we plan for the next visit?

After your initial volunteer service, please arrange a time when shopping or medication pick up will be needed again. Or let the elder know they can email you to establish a plan. Our service is not intended to be an“emergency” service, but one that connects volunteers and elders and works in a fluid and planned manner, as best as possible in this time of uncertainty.

If you’re unable to continue volunteering and cannot keep your connection, please inform us via email so we can adjust as needed.

How is trash pick-up service handled?

This is handled in the same way – after an initial connection is made, please plan on continuing to help that person on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. A quick phone call or e-mail can establish whether the recipient will need help in a particular week.

Volunteers should wear masks & gloves if possible, and observe prudent social distancing at all times. Trash should be put out by the street no later than 10:00 am Saturday, or 10:00 am Sunday if that’s when the volunteer is coming.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at

What else can we do to help?

Isolation and staying at home can be very lonely for everyone.Once you have made your connection, please consider asking the elder if they would like a phone call daily or a few times a week. If they are interested in receiving calls, you can do that too, or we can connect them with other volunteers.

If possible, refer elders to our website and follow the navigation at the top of the page to sign up for calls at Often this process is not easy for them, so please let them know they can also call +1 (781) 908-0590 to be placed on our call list.

Thank you so much for your time and help!