COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — For one Columbus cook, soul food is community. For National Soul Food Month Twist Skillit owner Jerome Lawson, 41, described his how he uses his food truck to connect with locals and share his comeback story.

Though he spends most of his days as a community activist for the local Health Department, Lawson explained most people know him through his food.

“Food, it connects to soul…it connects the person to the people and all of that connects to the history of just sitting down and eating,” said Lawson, “You know, spending quality time with your family and neighbors…it’s just an opportunity to connect.”

This is especially true for Lawson, who said cooking was always a part of his family life. He trained in culinary arts as a way to turn his life around after being given a 13-year prison sentence for armed robbery at 16.

“While I was in there, you know I just want to revamp my life. You know, be different,” said Lawson who explained he came back from culinary school with the intention of getting a food truck.

Since 2014, Lawson has operated Twist Skillit, which is currently located at 905 15th Street. He explained his food truck allows him to connect with the community by going to events all around the city and connecting with locals.

Lawson actively shares his 180 degree turnaround with customers and said, “It was an opportunity to break bread and, you know, break ground and connect with people. You know, keeping that tradition of connecting with people through food alive.”

Sharing his story at the food truck was how Lawson got involved with the Health Department to working as a community activist to help reduce crime and gun violence in the Columbus area, Lawson said.

The food truck owner noted there are a few things which are soul food non-negotiables: pork, chicken, fish and last but not least “good cornbread.”

In the past, Lawson did “Soul Food Saturdays” which featured ribs and chicken, alongside Twist Skillit’s regular menu. He would also take community suggestions from social media throughout the week to see what else customers wanted for the weekend, like collard greens or mac and cheese.

Lawson directed those interested in when Twist Skillit will be serving next to check his website, Facebook and Instagram pages. He reported the food truck has a few prospective appearances in the works for later this year.