Almost 20,000 donated dishes need to be sorted into sets and handed out to Syrian refugees, and the board of the Canadian Muslim Women's Institute could use a little help. 

"Winnipeggers have been great in their donations," said president Yasmin Ali.

RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg donated bread and butter plates, dinner plates, salad plates, soup bowls, tea cups, coffee cups and saucers to the organization. Some are plain white and others are white with red trim.

The dishes are all stacked up in an arena that wasn't in use before the institute's donations took over. 

"Now we have to take them all out and assemble them into sets, so we can give each family a set of tea cups, saucers, dinner plates, lunch plates, breakfast plates," she said.

Ali and other board members volunteer their time on the weekend to sort. The dish sets will be distributed to families who register their names at the institute.

This isn't the first time they've had to sort donations. 

Last week the organization also held a free shopping event for women connected to the institute.

A local retailer donated hundreds of new dresses, pants, tops, sweaters and scarves to the organization.

Ali and other volunteers sorted the clothes and displayed them by style and colour.

"We had dainties, tea, cakes, snacks, and they were able to come in and choose whatever they wanted," she said.

"They come, they meet others who can talk the same language as they talk, and they are able to discuss, share their experiences, make friends, talk to each other. It's a very happy environment for them."

The organization still needs pots, serving dishes and glasses.

Anyone with donations or who's interested in volunteering to sort or deliver dishes this weekend or next can call 204-943-8539.