CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sharon McCartney and Raelyn Meadows, both 5, flashed toothless smiles as they rode a pony for the first time Wednesday evening.
Their grandmother, Karen McCartney, watched and waved at the two girls.
"Meemaw that was fun!" Sharon McCartney shouted as she got off the brown pony.
Next, the trio from Charleston's West Side hopped on the carousel during the carnival at Charleston Civic Center's parking lot on Lee Street.
The carnival stopped in town this week to help support Mountain Mission, a nonprofit, faith-based organization that helps Kanawha Valley residents who experience unexpected financial emergencies.
The group helped more than 14,000 people last year pay for utilities, medications, housing, transportation and more.
Residents in need collected food, clothing and furniture from the organization, which is located at 1620 Seventh Ave. in Charleston.
Those in the crowd who donated one can of food received $1 off the purchase of an $18 wristband, which gave guests unlimited access to the Ferris wheel, merry-go-round and the other rides.
The donations of food will fill Mountain Mission's pantry. The pantry distributes at least 130 food orders a month to individuals and families.
Mountain Mission will also get proceeds from the carnival's ticket sales for each ride, game and access to the petting zoo.
"I think it's wonderful to help out people who are hungry and need things," Karen McCartney said. "I donate to Mountain Mission and it's nice to see [the carnival] helping out, too."
The money benefits the organization's emergency assistance programs.
Mountain Mission is building a wheelchair ramp for one disabled woman and providing the basic needs, such as giving food and helping pay the utilities, for a woman who has breast cancer, said John Roberts, executive director of Mountain Mission.
Roberts said the group's goal is to raise up to $10,000 from the five-day fundraiser.
The carnival will be open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. today<co Thursday> and Friday, and from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. It began <co >Tuesday.