ANIMAL LOVER: Esme Aspland may have just set a new trend when it comes to birthdays.
ANIMAL LOVER: Esme Aspland may have just set a new trend when it comes to birthdays. John McCutcheon

Could this be Australia's most generous toddler?

SHE can't talk yet but little Esme Aspland's actions are making plenty of noise.

In fact, she might just have announced herself as the Coast's most generous toddler.

Not that she had any choice in it but her and her parents have set an example the rest of us could do well to follow.

Rather than have their daughter showered with gifts at her first birthday party last weekend, Rachelle and Liam Aspland asked friends to bring along food, treats, toys and blankets to be donated to the Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge.

Esme celebrates her 1st birthday by donating dog food: 1 Year old Esme Aspland celebrates her birthday by donating dog food at Sippy Animal Refuge. By John McCutcheon
Esme celebrates her 1st birthday by donating dog food: 1 Year old Esme Aspland celebrates her birthday by donating dog food at Sippy Animal Refuge. By John McCutcheon

The generous idea led to little Esme and her parents handing over about $500 worth of goods to the refuge yesterday, which was also Esme's exact birthday.

Rachelle said she'd been struggling to think of gift ideas or anything her young daughter truly needed for her birthday, so instead decided to combine Esme's love of animals with the chance to help a worthy cause.

"Everyone kept asking what they could get her for her birthday," Rachelle said.

"We couldn't think of anything.

"She just loves animals though. I thought something that would really make her happy would be to go out there and see all the dogs out there."

 

Birthday girl Esme Aspland celebrated her first birthday at Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge where she donated food, toys and blankets with her parents help.  Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
HAPPY DAYS: Esme Aspland having fun with some of the locals at the refuge. John McCutcheon

Rachelle said they were hoping to teach their first-born from a young age that there was more enjoyment in giving and helping others than receiving things.

"I was overwhelmed on the day by how many people brought... food, treats and toys, it was really quite lovely," she said.

"They need food and help out there more than what she needs a toy or clothes," Rachelle said.

Rachelle said she felt the world was becoming greedier in general and was hoping to show her daughter there were more important things in life than material items.

 

Birthday girl Esme Aspland celebrated her first birthday at Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge where she donated food, toys and blankets with her parents help, Rachelle and Liam Aspland.  Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
GOOD DEED: Rachelle (L), Esme and Liam Aspland were all smiles at the Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge. John McCutcheon

She said they would look to repeat the donation party each year for the refuge or other causes, with other families agreeing it was a great idea.

"We never did it to inspire anyone, we just thought it was a good idea," Rachelle said.

"She just loves animals."

Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge operations manager Penny Brischke was grateful for the donation and said it was pleasing to see more people supporting the refuge.

"It's wonderful that parents are thinking that way," Ms Brischke said.

 

Birthday girl Esme Aspland celebrated her first birthday at Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge where she donated food, toys and blankets with her parents help.  Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
BIRTHDAY GIRL: Esme Aspland spent her first birthday donating food and goods to the Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge. John McCutcheon

She said food donation bins around the region were keeping them well-stocked but office supplies, toys, blankets and even half-shell pools to keep dogs cool in summer were always welcomed.

Ms Brischke said efforts like the Aspland family's also helped spread the word about the refuge, which is open six days a week, 10am-5pm from Tuesday-Sunday.