YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Northwest Harvest will build a huge new distribution center and free grocery store in the agricultural heart of Washington, the Yakima Valley.

Northwest Harvest said Wednesday it had purchased a 10.5-acre parcel, formerly a drive-in movie theatre in Yakima. The site will become home to a new 200,000 square foot distribution center and a 4,000 square foot free grocery store, expected to finish construction by late 2022.

Northwest Harvest said the project will significantly expand equitable access to food across Washington state; create upwards of 40 new, permanent, living wage jobs; and center operations where many of Washington’s key agricultural producers are located.

The new facility will become the main hub for the distribution of fresh, nutritious food to all 39 counties in Washington, free of charge, and enable Northwest Harvest and its network of food bank, meal program, and school-based partners to achieve their vision of ending hunger.

Northwest Harvest chief executive officer Thomas Reynolds said one in four families are facing difficulty making ends meet. He said the COVID-19 pandemic made that reality even more prevalent and difficult to overcome.