Food allergies prompt volunteerism in student

Since he was 2, Anthony Schrecengost has had to adhere to a strict diet.

“A peanut butter and jelly sandwich would kill (him),” his mom said.

He cannot eat cake or pizza at birthday parties. When his family eats out, a plain chicken breast is about the only safe bet on any menu.

But his severe food allergies may one day be a positive. At 14, Schrecengost is determined to be a pediatric allergist and help generations of kids.

Schrecengost was one of two Nevada students out of 100 nationwide to receive a Prudential Spirit of Community Award for his volunteerism. The awards were distributed by Prudential Financial Inc. and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

He received a plaque and $1,000. Schrecengost said he plans to donate $300 to Food Allergy Research & Education, or FARE, an organization that promotes food allergy awareness, and $200 to Three Square food bank.

The rest, he said, will probably be saved for college.

Schrecengost’s volunteer work stemmed from his own experience. He cannot eat dairy, eggs, nuts, fish, shellfish, berries, green peppers, coconuts, melons, lettuce and other foods. About one in 13 children have food allergies, according to FARE.

Schrecengost was born and raised in Las Vegas and attended Rogich Middle School, 235 N. Pavilion Center Drive. He plans to attend Palo Verde School, 333 S. Pavilion Center Drive, this fall. He hopes to grow out of some of those allergies eventually but has accepted the possibility it might not happen.

According to his mom, Kathy Schrecengost, Anthony and his two brothers — who also have food allergies — have donated allergy-safe food to Three Square several times during the past year.

“I was watching the news about how there’s a lot of homeless people,” Anthony Schrecengost said. “I thought, ‘What if someone like me has allergies and can’t eat most the stuff there?’ ”

Schrecengost also distributed fliers and brochures around the Summerlin area to promote fundraisers for FARE, the nonprofit organization formed last year as the result of a merger between the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network and the Food Allergy Initiative.

He raised $300 at last year’s annual FARE walk. The 2013 walk is scheduled for Nov. 2. For more information, visit

Team Schrecengost again plans to be in the walk. Donations can be made to Schrecengost’s team on the website.

“He’s kind of a shy child,” Kathy Schrecengost said of her son. “He does things not so much for the recognition but because he really wants to help. I really hope he becomes a doctor.”

Contact View education reporter Jeff Mosier at or 702-224-5524.