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STUTTGART, Germany — Volunteer baggers from youth groups and other nonprofit organizations have been officially banned at Army and Air Force Exchange Service-Europe facilities under a new directive that halted the practice.

The directive is the final step in a process begun in November when AAFES started curtailing the program, according to AAFES-Europe spokeswoman Jeanne McDonald. The only groups that had been permitted to continue bagging purchases at AAFES facilities were those that had already reserved dates.

The change had frustrated many youth groups, such as Scouts and swim clubs, because they said it was one of the few ventures they had in the military community to raise money.

Some organizations said they could make thousands of dollars in a weekend of bagging.

The elimination of baggers has been an adjustment, especially for youth groups.

“We’re still trying to find ways to make up the shortfall,” said Donald Graves, whose son is a Boy Scout in the Würzburg area. “It was a big loss for us.”

Bagging was not allowed at AAFES facilities in the States, and AAFES leaders wanted the policy to be uniform in Europe, McDonald said.

The revised policy also dovetailed with a plan by AAFES-Europe to install new cashier stations intended to speed service by making the bagging process easier and more efficient.

Last fall, AAFES began replacing standard cash registers with a more “ergonomic” work station that allows clerks to quickly scan and then bag purchases.

“The [volunteer] bagger just got in the way. It didn’t make sense,” McDonald said.

Still, she added, AAFES isn’t leaving volunteers high and dry.

AAFES worked to help the groups find other forms of funding. For example, McDonald said, several wives groups stepped forward and have made cash donations to swim clubs and other youth organizations that lost funding.

And AAFES has another program that allows groups to have products they sell at fund-raisers, such as Girl Scouts cookies, shipped to Europe along with AAFES goods at a lower cost.

“We’re working with the groups,” she said.

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