An opportunity to see where the stars of stage and film work

REGION -- Chris Byers, director of studio operations at the state-of-the-art New England Studios in Devens, this week announced a partnership with business organizations across North Central Massachusetts, in particular the Nashoba Valley, to utilize the new 418,000-square-foot studios to collect food and toys for local food pantries and Marine's highly successful Toys for Tots campaign.

The event named "Elves for Shelves," is designed to have the New England Studios and the Mass Film Association spread good cheer throughout the year. Donations can be made out to The Wish Project and either dropped off the day of the event or mailed directly to New England Studios, 120 Studio Way, Devens Mass. 01432, Attention Chris Byers.

Byers will host a tour of the studios on Saturday, Dec. 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For a donation of a canned good and small toy, you will be able to enjoy lunch and receive a tour of the studio sound stages where very soon Hollywood will be a major presence filming movies, television shows and documentaries. The studio is located at 120 Studio Way, just off Route 2.

New England Studios' initiative at Devens has been focused on supporting the local community and using as many local resources as possible in a concentrated effort to improve the economics of the local region. The studio is the largest private investment on Devens in the entire redevelopment process.

"Our commitment is to work with the local business community as we build our business model at Devens," commented Byers. "We at the studio are big believers in the strength and diversity of this region and feel strongly that those attributes will help us bring the film industry to central Massachusetts.

Working with Byers are Steve Catalano of Dolce Catering, the preferred caterer of New England Studios; state Rep. Sheila Harrington; state Sen. Jennifer Flanagan; presidents of both local chambers of commerce, Melissa Fetterhoff and Dave McKeehan.

"I think this is a wonderful idea and shows the commitment of New England Studios to the local community," said Fetterhoff. "This is a great example of a local business helping the local community."

Charities that will benefit include Loaves & Fishes in Devens, PACH of Pepperell and TEO in Townsend and The Wish Project.