Despite having been told just over one week ago that their assembly plant will be shutting down production in December 2019, General Motors workers in Oshawa, Ont., went ahead with their annual Christmas tradition -- now in its fiftieth year -- of giving toys to needy families.

“We as GM employees love to help people,” said Melissa Noonan, who is among nearly 2,800 people employed by the Oshawa plant. “And the fact that we’re able to do this…I feel amazing!”

The toys they donated filled the backs of newly built GM pickup trucks and were brought to a local children’s foundation where they helped 45 families and 100 children.

“It was emotional when we drove in,” said Christie Brown, a GM worker. “It was very hard to hold back those tears.”

Sharon Clark first started the General Motors holiday toy drive back in 1968 while she was working as a file clerk at the Oshawa assembly plant.

“I’m sorry that General Motors is closing, but you know, when one door closes, another opens,” she said. “Who knows what will happen in the future? It may still go on somewhere I’m hoping.”

General Motors announced last week that it would be pulling the plug on five factories in Canada and the United States, the latest in a series of cost-cutting efforts and a shift towards electric and self-driving vehicles.

With files from CTV’s John Vennavally-Rao