Tenino, Washington is a small town (of about 2,000 residents) halfway through Seattle and Portland. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many people found themselves out of jobs.
Tenino came up with a program that allows residents who are in a hard position to apply for a $300 monthly wooden dollar grant. The bills are made from wood veneer and are each worth a cool twenty-five bucks. The wooden dollars can be used for groceries, food, and/or other household supplies, but they can’t be used for alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or marijuana products (yes, weed is legal in Washington State!)
A lot of local restaurants have started accepting this wooden money – they then go and redeem the wooden dollars for cash at the local Tenino City Hall.
Since the currency is only good in Tenino, the wooden dollars are a win-win for everyone! Small business owners can stay afloat, and local residents can survive that much more hardship.
So far, the city has printed over $10,000 in wooden dollars, and they expect to print more. The Tenino Wooden Dollar is actually making a comeback, as these wooden dollars were first printed in 1931 – smack dab in the middle of the Great Recession.