By Mike Kruzman /

A fundraiser to help put healthy food on Livingston County tables is taking place in the temporary absence of a popular cooking competition.

Due to what was described as “unforeseen circumstances”, combined with the restaurant industry being hit hard by the pandemic, Gleaners Community Food Bank was forced to cancel the 2021 Iron Chef competition that had pitted chefs from local eateries against each other. However many of the event’s sponsors and committee members stepped up to match up to $16,000 in what is being billed as the Iron Chef Match Challenge. Every dollar donated will be turned into two during this fundraiser which runs until Thursday at midnight.

Bridget Brown is the Director of Food Secure Livingston at Gleaners and says that all money raised stays local and helps them buy fresh food and canned goods. It will also support their mobile distribution program, where they are able to get trucks with healthy food out to the school districts to help meet kids’ needs.

Brown, speaking on WHMI's Mike & Jon in the Morning, said they work with local producers, warehouse companies and wholesalers to stretch their dollars as far as they can. She said produce is one of the most efficient and cost-effective methods for getting healthy food out to the public. And the public seems to be jumping on those healthy options, with larger and larger numbers coming out to the Fresh Market at Shared Harvest Pantry, weekly, for fresh produce, milk and eggs.

The Shared Harvest Pantry is still in a drive-up model, but she expects it to reopen very soon.

As for the regular Iron Chef event, Brown said they are hopeful for its return, next year.

For more information on the fundraiser or to make a donation, visit