Residents of Tenino—a community of fewer than 2,000 people halfway between Seattle and Portland—are addressing and helping each other overcome financial stress, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, through the deployment and adoption of wooden money. Those who can demonstrate the extent of their economic hardships caused by the current health crisis are eligible to receive up to $300 wooden dollars a month, subsidized by a City Hall grant program.
Each wooden dollar is equivalent to $25. Residents can use these to purchase necessities and services from licensed or certified providers. Stores, restaurants, and other businesses that accept this currency can substitute it for US Dollars at City Hall. The wooden money cannot, however, be used for purchases of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or marijuana.
About the wooden money, store manager at Tenino Market Fresh, Chris Hamilton, shares: "The nice thing is it keeps the business in town," Hamilton said. "The currency is only good in Tenino, so it helps promote the small town and keep business local. It's a two-fold win for people."
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